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of the 



With a Foreword by 


X ^ h*lV, 



Copyrighted, 1929, 1930, 1932, 1933, 1937 

by The Southwest Review 

Copyright, 1937, by 

All Rights Reserved 

To the Memory of 


Here is a book of interest to many types of readers. For 
those who love stories, of adventure and struggle, it narrates 
the lives and varying fates of men who lived under strange 
and difficult conditions, and who met those conditions, some 
with heroic resolution and resourcefulness, some with fainting 
and failure, many with a mixture of both. These lives are 
presented, not in the style of the popular semi-fiction of the 
day, but with such accuracy as only a thorough study of many 
sorts of records makes possible ; yet, too, with sympathy and 
insight into human nature throughout. For those interested 
in, frontier life and frontier stories this book presents an un- 
wonted aspect of that life: the struggle for culture and for 
science under frontier conditions: a struggle no less heroic 
than that of the fighting pioneer. It gives realistic pictures 
of the hard material conditions of frontier life, yet these are 
illumined by the ideals of the men who subdued those condi- 
tions. The student of the early history of the Southwest, and 
particularly of Texas, will find here presented unusual and 
significant aspects of that history. For the historian of 
science this book pictures the beginnings of science in a new 
country; it shows what science must be under frontier con- 
ditions — an examination of the resources of the region, 
rather than a study of underlying problems. To the experi- 
mentalist, at work on the fundamentals of his science with all 
the apparatus of modern research, it brings a realization of 
the nature of the work that had to be done before the condi- 
tions for present-day investigation could be supplied ; it shows 
him the type of work he himself would be doing had his lot 
fallen at a slightly earlier period in the history of his country. 
To readers of all these types — and others — the book will 



furnish enjoyment and — more important — understanding and 

appreciation of the heroic men who founded science on the 

raw frontier. 

Herbert Spencer Jennings 

The Johns Hopkins University, 
October 11, 1937. 


The Naturalist on the Frontier 11 

Jacob Boll 22 

In Defense of Jean Louis Berlandier 38 

Thomas Drummond 73 

Louis Cachand Ervendberg 106 

Ferdinand Jakob Lindheimer 159 

Ferdinand von Roemer, and His Travels in Texas 181 

Charles Wright 215 

Gideon Lincecum 253 


Julien Reverchon 275 




Principal Sources of the Foregoing Chapters 309 


A Partial List of Naturalists and Collectors in Texas, 
1820-1880 317 

»»»»)» »»»>»»» '>X<<< < <<< < < « ««««r«<r^r 


ON a stifling, sultry July day ten years ago I trudged from 
the exit of the subway in lower New York to a second- 
hand bookstore on Fourth Avenue. There, I had been told, 
I could find some books by Kassowitz, Claus, Pallas, Wieder- 
sheim, Oppel, and Steindachner, priced within the reach of the 
slender purse of a college professor. Fresh from the plains 
of Texas, far removed from the great libraries of the world, 
I hoped to gain these for my own. At the foot of my list was 
a book whose purchase I could hardly justify in view of the 
state of my purse, Leonard Jenyns's Observations in Natural 
History. Jenyns is not a great figure in the history of science 
— he lived and died half -obscurely, a priest in the Church of 
England. But his life and work had always interested me, 
and I was filled with curiosity concerning the man. 

One may expect any adventure to befall in a second-hand 
bookstore. My books secured, my arms filled with my pur- 
chases, already enjoying in anticipation my scientific classics, 
I turned to go. At that moment my eye fell upon a box of 
foxed and disordered pamphlets, which seemed to invite in- 
spection. Admonished by the clerk that these were but worth- 
less rejecta, still I would examine them, and lo ! among them 
was a pamphlet long desired. It was Cope's brochure, "The 
Zoological Position of Texas.' ' I paid the price asked, and 
with my augmented treasures, returned to my hotel. Hours 
later I emerged, half-famished, for dinner and a turn at ex- 
ercise. Then I set to work again at the books long denied me, 



noting with something like affection the browning pages, the 
loosened stitching, and the breaking covers bound in wretched 
German leather ; wondering, also, what hands, like mine, had 
thumbed those pages, and to what projects of investigation 
or research other men had been stimulated by the ideas, now 
somewhat out-moded, presented in these books. 

The volume by Jenyns, especially, intrigued me, for I re- 
called vividly how its author had declined an offer to accom- 
pany the Beagle, as Naturalist, on its voyage around the 
world, and thus had opened to Charles Darwin the oppor- 
tunity to undertake those investigations whose purport has 
forever changed the face of the scientific world. What would 
have happened, I could not help asking, had Jenyns made the 
voyage instead of Darwin? How would he have reacted to 
the new world of phenomena which Darwin encountered? 
What, in general, is the effect of exploration — contact with 
raw frontier life, contact with the riches of unexplored land 
— on the man of science ? 

Finally, I came upon Cope's thin pamphlet. As I glanced 
over its pages, I found numerous references to a Texan col- 
lector, Jacob Boll of Dallas, to me entirely unknown. Piqued 
with curiosity regarding an early naturalist who had collected 
so widely in north-central Texas, I determined to investigate 
Boll's antecedents and his life in Texas. 

In the course of the following months I amassed a wealth 
of materials regarding Boll, and my interest was awakened 
to investigations that have absorbed my time for ten years and 
have involved correspondence with scientific investigators in the 
great museums in Europe and America. After learning that 
Boll's collections from Texas were distributed from St. Louis 
to Leningrad, I asked myself if there might not be other pioneer 
naturalists and collectors who worked in Texas. The answer 
came slowly, but today I know that more than one hundred 
and fifty men of science labored in Texas in the pioneer days. 


Moreover, as I looked into the lives of these men, through their 
letters, the comments of friends and acquaintances, the records 
of their work in publications and in great musea and herbaria, 
I found that the careers and investigations of these pioneer 
naturalists showed common features. Indeed, when for com- 
parison I came to investigate the lives of explorers and natur- 
alists in other parts of the world, I learned that the phenomena 
exhibited here were common to scientific explorations and 
investigations on every frontier. The history of scientific ex- 
ploration of frontier Texas becomes, in a sense, the history of 
scientific exploration anywhere on a border-line of cultures. 

I have already spoken of the significance of Darwin's voy- 
age on the Beagle in the history of the development of science. 
In many other instances, too, explorations on the frontier have 
launched men of science upon new tasks, have broken down in 
their minds old views and old dogmas, have given new dis- 
coveries that have broadened our concepts and brought into 
being new techniques. The results of scientific expeditions 
have made possible the development of systematic zoology and 
botany. Such journeys have very often been the decisive fac- 
tor in a scientist's career. Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, perhaps 
the world's greatest botanical explorer, first reached full 
awareness of his calling as a botanist while he was surgeon 
with the Antarctic Expeditions of the Erebus and the Terror 
(1839-43). It was on an exploring voyage to the Torres 
Straits in 1846-50 that young Thomas Henry Huxley, serving 
as ship's surgeon of the Rattlesnake, made his final decision to 
desert medicine for natural science. And to mention two 
other great names, Henry W. Bates, author of The Naturalist 
on the River Amazons, and Alfred Russel Wallace, co-dis- 
coverer with Darwin of the principle of natural selection, 
laid the bases of their great work in the field of natural history 
when they went out together to the mouths of the Amazon in 


If one cared to examine the history of science (still, alas! 
largely unwritten) he might easily compile a long list of men 
distinguished for their labors of exploration. In the first 
rank of scientists belong such explorers as Franqois Peron, 
the expert on mollusks, whose name, bracketed with that of 
Freycinet, is imperishably associated with Australasian zo- 
ology; Charles Alexandre Lesueur, naturalist on Nicholas 
Baudin's voyage around the world, and explorer in the United 
States from 1815 to 1837; Rene P. Lesson, the botanist, who 
accompanied Captain Duperrey on his voyage around the 
world on the corvette La Coquille in 1822-25; L. C. A. de 
Chamisso, zoologist with Captain von Kotzebue on the Rus- 
sian exploring ship Rurik during its voyage around the world 
(1815-18); and James D wight Dana, naturalist with Captain 
Charles Wilkes on the United States Exploring Expedition to 
the South Pacific (1838-42). Among explorers in South 
America alone one might name such eminent scientists as 
Don Felix de Azara, who traveled in the interior of the con- 
tinent in 1781-1801 ; Maximilian, Prince Wied-Neu Wied, who 
explored Brazil in 1815-17 before coming to North America 
for his work in the Upper Missouri country in 1832-34; 
Eduard F. Poppig, explorer in Chile, Peru, and the Amazon 
country in 1826-32; Johann J. von Tschudi, who worked 
especially in Peru and Brazil during the years 1838-43 and 
1857-59; the Comte de Castelnau; and Sir Robert H. Schom- 
burgk. If one turns to other parts of the world, the list of 
scientists notable for their explorations is almost endless: 
it includes, among many others, John Gould, Sir Stamford 
Raffles, Coenraad J. Temminck, and Caspar G. K. Reinwardt 
in Australasia ; Alfred Grandidier in Madagascar ; Dr. Philip 
Franz von Siebold in Japan ; and Christian Gottfried Ehren- 
berg and W. P. E. S. Riippel in Egypt. 

But the career of the scientific explorer, if it has its glories 
and its powerful stimulus to intellectual development, has also 


its dangers, psychological as well as physical. The frontier 
has broken scientists as well as made them. Isolation from 
the libraries and museums in the centers of scientific activity, 
and from both the appreciation and the criticism of fellow 
naturalists, in many cases has dampened the zeal of explorers 
who had earlier shown great promise. The case of Aime 
Bonpland, the South American explorer with Baron von 
Humboldt, who ended his miserable days in a small village in 
Brazil, at once comes to mind. Among naturalists who 
worked in early Texas, Jean Louis Berlandier and Julien 
Reverchon might have achieved a great deal more if they could 
have had a more positive stimulus from their environment. 
And the same might be said of Gustaf Belf rage. 

Indeed, the psychological dangers of the frontier for the 
naturalist seem to be especially great when, as in Texas, the 
scientific frontier of exploration coincides with a geographic 
frontier. In Texas, as in the rest of the United States, the 
early settlers' suspicion of the scientist was a serious psycho- 
logical obstacle. Full realization of the attitude current on 
the frontier is essential to a proper understanding of the men 
dealt with in the present volume, both in their triumphs and 
in their failures. Especially did the scientists who, like Jacob 
Boll, came out to Texas in the early days to make their homes 
here, face a task more difficult in many ways than that under- 
taken by Darwin, say, in his voyage with the Beagle. The 
Naturalists of the Frontier, like Darwin, were repre- 
sentatives of an advanced civilization who undertook to 
explore an area for the most part unknown to science. But 
where Darwin was sustained both by the sense of belonging 
to a definite group of his colleagues, and by the realization 
that any privations he encountered were but temporary, a 
man like Boll inevitably had to take upon himself some of the 
burden of moving the whole of a non-intellectual frontier 
community along the path toward civilization. It was not 


merely that Boll had to work alone, or nearly so; he had no 
London to go back to. His destiny lay in Texas; and only 
one who appreciates the contrast between the Jena and the 
Cambridge Boll knew in his youth, on the one hand, and on the 
other the primitive conditions in North Texas immediately 
after the Civil War, can realize the courage of Boll's choice. 
In Darwin's travels with the Beagle in the Pacific, he was 
indeed working on a frontier of scientific exploration. But 
Boll and the other Texan naturalists were working on a 
social frontier as well. In fact, two distinct types of frontier 
are involved in the comparison — the social frontier, described 
in America by Turner and Paxson, which is a more or less 
definite boundary phase between an advancing social system 
and a relatively unoccupied area; and the frontier of scientific 
exploration, which marks the boundary between the known 
area of the earth and the areas that have not yet been scien- 
tifically explored. The significant fact for our purposes is 
that in Texas, during the period considered in this book, the 
two types of frontier tended to coincide. 

This means that while the naturalists of the Texan frontier 
are of interest to the historian of science primarily because of 
their work in extending the bounds of knowledge in various 
fields of natural science, their careers must be considered 
always in the light of their social environment. I stress this 
fact because the historian of scientific exploration in frontier 
Texas is constantly tempted to deal at length with the social 
history of the region as well. I have not always resisted this 
temptation, which seems to spring from the nature of the ma- 
terials. Social conditions in early Texas offered many ob- 
stacles to the naturalists' work ; and for any but the narrowest 
view of the ten men I have selected for discussion, their fail- 
ures are of almost as much interest as their successes. While 
their achievements were due largely to traits of character 
inherent in the men themselves, their failures were due in 


almost every case to the environment. This is especially clear 
in the career of Louis Ervendberg, who, in a work devoted 
exclusively to the history of science, would hardly deserve as 
much space as I have devoted to him. As a naturalist he was 
not important, but he might have been; and the reasons for 
his failure to accomplish more for science are of great interest 
to anyone who wishes to understand the conditions under 
which all the Naturalists of the Frontier worked. Asa Gray's 
curious indifference to Ervendberg after he had encouraged 
the collector to work for him was of course a factor in 
Ervendberg's failure, but other factors inherent in the social 
conditions of frontier Texas were of equal or greater im- 

The tendency of the frontier of scientific exploration to 
coincide with the advancing social frontier was a determining 
factor in the work of pioneer naturalists throughout the 
United States in the nineteenth century. For as the geo- 
graphic and social frontier advances it naturally attracts men 
of science as well as actual settlers. The scientist who de- 
sires to discover new species of plants and animals seeks the 
frontier of scientific exploration. There, faced with dangers, 
with sufferings, with privations that a closet naturalist would 
find intolerable, he advances our knowledge of nature, urged 
on by an inner drive whose origin he but dimly comprehends. 
Such men have played a large part in the advancement of 
science, in America as in other parts of the world. 

The list of pioneer naturalists who have explored the ad- 
vancing frontiers of America is imposing. Readers who are 
familiar with George Brown Goode's delightful essays on the 
history of biology in America (published in 1886-88 and still 
the only attempt to deal with the whole subject in its proper 
perspective) will recall his vivid account of the beginnings of 
natural history in this country, in the labors of such frontier 
naturalists as the Reverend John Banister of Virginia, and of 


those other Virginians, John Clayton, Dr. John Mitchell, ; nd 
Colonel William Byrd. Goode also mentions in the Colonial 
Period Cadwallader Colden, for many years Lieutenant- 
Governor of the Colony of New York; Dr. Alexander Garden 
of Charleston; and Mark Catesby (1679-1749) of Virginia 
and the Carolinas, America's first extensive scientific ex- 
plorer, who published in 1731-43 a magnificent work on his 
travels in Virginia, the Carolinas, and Bermuda, in two folio 
volumes illustrated with more than two hundred fine colored 

The most fruitful period of scientific exploration in this 
country, however, was the hundred years between the found- 
ing of the nation and the passing of the social frontier about 
1880. By the close of this period the primary labor of dis- 
covery in the natural history of the new continent was nearing 
its end. The history of scientific exploration in Texas, which 
is the subject of the present work, belongs to this period, and 
the Texas naturalists should be thought of as co-laborers with 
such naturalists and men of science elsewhere on the American 
frontier as the Audubons, David Douglass the botanical 
explorer, the herpetologist Holbrook, the Michauxs, father 
and son, the naturalist Thomas Nuttall, the zoologist Charles 
Pickering, the botanist Frederick Pursh, the universal natur- 
alist Constantine Samuel Rafinesque, the entomologist 
Thomas Say, the mycologist Lewis D. de Schweinitz, and that 
fine old ornithologist, Alexander Wilson. 

Usually the collections of such men were sent back to closet 
naturalists in Europe and the eastern United States instead 
of being described and classified by the field workers them- 
selves. Thus but few among the devoted naturalists of the 
frontier attained immediate fame in their profession, even 
though their pioneer services are commemorated in names 
of animals and plants that will always awaken echoes in the 
minds of men of science : Raftnesqiiina, Carlowrightia, Bar- 


tramia, Pitchera, and so on. Despite such tributes from the 
scientists for whom they worked, the naturalists in the field 
could expect little reward beyond the joy of the day's work and 
the consciousness that they had wrought well for science. 
Too often the scientific explorer has borne the burden of the 
heat of the day, while the closet naturalist has reaped that 
whereon he bestowed relatively little labor. 

It was natural that the wave of migration from the United 
States into Texas after 1820 should have been followed by 
scientific exploration on this new frontier. Texas had of 
course been a social frontier for three hundred years, subject 
to desultory efforts at colonization by the Spaniards; but 
conquistador and missionary seem to have had little inclination 
to botanize on their entradas. Although Alvar Nunez Cabeza 
de Vaca explored Texas either shortly before or shortly after 
1530, little information that can definitely be taken as refer- 
ring to Texas is included in his book of travels. None of 
the later Spanish expeditions into the region seems to have 
brought back any notes of interest to natural historians. 
Scientific exploration in Texas seems actually to have begun 
with the work of Dr. Edwin James, surgeon and naturalist 
with Major S. H. Long's first expedition to the Rocky Moun- 
tains in 1820. In the summer of that year, with Major Long 
and a part of the military escort, Dr. James came down the 
Canadian River in what is now the Texas Panhandle and col- 
lected numerous plants, which were described for science by 
Dr. John Torrey. Eight years later a Franco-Swiss botanist 
sent out by DeCandolle in Geneva, Jean Louis Berlandier, 
came into Texas with a Mexican Boundary Commission to 
make collections for his sponsors. In 1833-34 the Scots 
botanical collector Thomas Drummond worked in Texas ; and 
in 1837, the year after the Republic had won its independence 
at San Jacinto, John James Audubon visited the new nation 
in search of materials for his proposed work The Birds of 


North America. Actual settlers in Texas, in these early 
years absorbed in the struggle to gain the barest necessities 
of life, had little leisure for scientific interests; but among 
the many German intellectuals who came into Texas after 
1831, many of them with university training in the sciences, 
were several men who did noteworthy work for science. As- 
sociated with the German settlements at New Braunfels and 
Fredericksburg were Ferdinand Lindheimer, who came to 
Texas in 1836, Louis Ervendberg, who came in 1839, and 
later the distinguished explorer Ferdinand von Roemer, who 
spent eighteen months in Texas in 1845-47. 

Charles Wright, who had come to Texas in 1837, remained 
here until 1852; for eight years he collected plants for Asa 
Gray. After Wright's work ensued a period of inaction 
which lasted through the decade of the Civil War. But in the 
seventies there was a marked awakening of interest in natural 
history in Texas ; several scientists worked in the state whose 
collections and correspondence made important contributions 
to knowledge in diverse fields of investigation. This group 
included the botanist Julien Reverchon of Dallas, in whose 
honor the genus Reverchonia is named; Gustaf W. Belfrage 
of Clifton, Bosque County, whose magnificent collections of 
Texan insects made possible Cresson's fine work Hymenoptera 
Texana, and who contributed to several monographs of the 
well known naturalist, Professor A. S. Packard; and, last in 
point of time, the Swiss-American geologist and naturalist, 
Jacob Boll, of Dallas, a man who by his character and per- 
sonality as well as by his scientific achievements deserves to 
stand first among his fellows. In a sense his work includes 
theirs; he completes the succession of frontier naturalists in 
Texas ; and if he is not the most nearly typical, he is certainly 
the most versatile and the most admirable scientist of the 

In the chapters which follow I shall describe the labors 


of these scientists and the environment in which they worked. 
The ten men selected as subjects of the biographical sketches 
are of course but a few of the many naturalists who worked 
in the region during the period under consideration, from 
1820 to about 1880; a partial list of over one hundred and 
fifty others, with very brief biographical data, is included in 
an appendix. The sources for each chapter are indicated at 
the close of the volume. 



AT the end of the Civil War, North Texas was still frontier 
^ country. The stirring events of the Texas Revolution, 
a generation before, had centered in the southern part of the 
region in the vicinity of San Antonio and Austin's colony, 
and along the lower reaches of the navigable rivers. Al- 
though the black waxy prairies of north-central Texas were 
destined to become the most populous area of the state, settle- 
ment in this region began late, and in the period of the Civil 
War and Reconstruction population was still relatively sparse. 
The railroads, building from the south and east, had not yet 
reached the town of Dallas with their great stimulus to 
trade and immigration ; and to the north and west, the country 
was even more thinly settled. 

Into this region, in the year 1869, came Jacob Boll, one of 
the most admirable among the naturalists of the Texas fron- 
tier. Already an esteemed associate of Louis Agassiz, he was 
destined to play an important part in the development of the 
mineral resources of Texas, and to give to the world almost 
its first glimpse of the fossil animal life of the Texas region. 
All the other men to be dealt with in this book had preceded 
him to Texas, some by more than a generation. Berlandier 
had come and gone years before, as had Drummond, Wright, 
Ervendberg, and Roemer. More than fifteen years before 
Boll's arrival, Lindheimer, who had been working in Texas 
since 1836, had turned from scientific exploration to his highly 



respected work as editor of the Neu-Braunfelser Zeitung. 
The frontier doctor and naturalist Lincecum, still vigorous at 
seventy-five, after twenty years of residence in Texas had 
gone to Mexico in protest against the disturbances of Recon- 
struction. Reverchon, in whom Boll was to fan a sinking 
flame of interest in science, had worked a dozen years near 
Dallas in the very area where Boll chose to make his home. 
Even Belf rage, the Swedish entomologist, had been in Texas 
two years before Boll came on his first collecting trip. 

Some of these men Boll knew ; of others he doubtless never 
so much as heard the names. But as the last in point of time 
among the naturalists who worked in Texas during the fron- 
tier period, he may well stand first in any account of the 
group. This place he deserves not only because of his delight- 
fully simple integrity as a man, but also because he worked 
in all the fields of investigation touched by his predecessors. 
In particular, he may almost be said to have begun geological 
investigation in this area. A curious alligator-like fossil 
skull which Boll discovered during an exploring trip into 
Archer County in 1876 was the first indication of the presence 
in the rocks of Texas of a wonderful series of hitherto un- 
known fossil fishes, reptiles, and amphibians. It was a chance 
meeting of Boll with Edward Drinker Cope at Dallas in 1877 
that led to the first systematic exploration of the rocks of the 
Wichita region and the unearthing of the extraordinary fossil 
fauna they contained. And in addition to his work with 
fossils, Boll collected extensively for various naturalists all 
kinds of living animals — fishes, reptiles, batrachia, insects, 
birds, mammals. Altogether, he discovered probably two 
hundred species of animals new to science. 

Jacob Boll was born in the Canton Aargau, Switzerland, 
May 29, 1828, the son of Henry and Magdalena Boll. His 
father, a man of moderate wealth, was able to send Jacob to 


a Gymnasium in Switzerland — where, somehow, he seems to 
have met Professor Louis Agassiz, destined to attain inter- 
national renown as a scientist for his work at Harvard Col- 
lege, but then teaching in the College of Neuchatel. Later 
Boll went to the University of Jena, where he spent two years 
but left without a degree in 1853. Returning to Bremgarten, 
his native town in the Canton Aargau, he married Henriette 
Humbel and settled down as apothecary in a pharmacy he had 
bought with his wife's dowry. At Jena he had become very 
much interested in chemistry and the natural sciences; and 
during the seventeen years of his residence in Bremgarten he 
gave free rein to his scientific tastes, to such a degree that 
the year 1869 saw the publication of a thin duodecimo on the 
flora of the Bremgarten region — and the bankruptcy of the 
pharmacy. Troubles now came upon Boll thick and fast. 
His wife, who had borne him three children, suffered a 
nervous breakdown, and had to be confined in a sanitarium. 
Boll's parents and brothers had migrated to Texas in 1858 
to join the ill-fated Fourieristic colony at La Reunion, and 
were now living at Dallas. He decided to follow them to 
America, hoping there to make a fresh start. 

Boll came to the United States in the latter part of 1869, 
stopping first at Boston and Cambridge. Here he met again 
his friend Professor Agassiz, who for more than twenty years 
had held a professorship in zoology and geology in Harvard 
College. Agassiz received Boll with open arms, and intro- 
duced him to the circle of young Swiss and American stu- 
dents who had been attracted to Harvard by the radiant, 
kindly personality of the world's greatest teacher in the nat- 
ural sciences. Agassiz, who just then had an especial desire 
to obtain a large and comprehensive collection of the animals 
of Texas, proposed to Boll that he go to Texas and make such 
a collection for the famous Museum of Comparative Zoology 
at Harvard. 


Boll accepted the proposal, came out to Texas late in 1869, 
and during the year 1870 gathered an extraordinary collec- 
tion of specimens of all classes of animals, including many 
new species, for the Harvard Museum. There were in this 
collection numerous specimens of bird-skins, Crustacea, 
spiders, and reptiles, as well as numerous invertebrate fossils. 
The Swiss pharmacist showed himself, in fact, a most gifted 
collector. Just how admirable Boll's collection was is indi- 
cated by Agassiz's comment on it in the Annual Report to the 
Trustees of the Museum of Comparative Zoology for 1870, 
in which he ranks the Boll collection among the "accessions to 
the Museum during the year of great and surprising impor- 
tance." Dr. Hermann August Hagen, Curator of the Depart- 
ment of Entomology in the Museum, states that there were 
among the insects of Boll's collection "1600 species, in 15,000 
specimens," and says further : 

The purchase of Mr. J. Boll's collection of Texan insects is 
in every way an important addition to the Museum. ... As 
Mr. J. Boll is a very experienced collector, and a considerable 
part of his Lepidoptera were raised either from the caterpillar 
or from the chrysalis, the Museum possesses now a stock of 
unsurpassed beauty even for the Microlepidoptera. . . . The 
collection of Mr. Boll is a very important addition, giving 
beautiful specimens for species before badly represented. Mr. 
Boll has added some remarks about the plants on which the 
caterpillars were found, the time of transformation, and similar 
notes of scientific value. . . . The whole collection of Mr. 
Boll, made in a certain limited region and in the course of only 
one year, affords from its unsurpassed beauty of arrangement 
a very high testimonial to the collector's ability, and furnishes 
a model of the way in which insects should be handled and 
arranged for a collection. 

During the late winter of 1870-71, Boll returned to Cam- 
bridge to be with Agassiz, and there was made a custodian in 
the Museum as an assistant to Dr. Hagen in the Department 
of Entomology. Upon Boll's shoulders was placed the re- 


sponsibility of remounting all insects in the museum that 
needed attention, eliminating duplicates in the collection, and 
preparing duplicate specimens for exchange with other mu- 
seums. In the spring of 1871 he returned to Switzerland in 
order to look after some matters of personal business, and 
during the summer experimented with species of American 
wild silkworms he had taken over as cocoons. In the course 
of two generations, by feeding the silkworms on food different 
from that to which they were accustomed in Texas, Boll ob- 
tained adults showing marked differences from the parental 

In a letter dated May 9, 1871, Agassiz had offered Boll a 
regular appointment in the Museum, renewable yearly or half- 
yearly at Boll's option. Accepting this offer, Boll returned to 
Cambridge toward the end of October, and that winter col- 
lected several thousand specimens of the insects of New 
England for the Museum. In the Annual Report for 1871, 
the following comment is made on Boll's work : 

The Texan Lepidoptera purchased from Mr. Boll were care- 
fully revised, . . . and a full set of all species sent to Prof. 
Zeller of Stettin, for a scientific monograph. All new or 
doubtful species of the Rhopalocera were sent to Mr. W. A. 
Edwards. . . . The Hemiptera from Dallas, Texas, have been 
in the same manner revised, and a full set sent to the well- 
known American monographer, Mr. P. R. Uhler, of Baltimore. 
The same work has been done with the greater part of the 
Texas Coleoptera, and a set sent to Prof. C. A. Dohrn at 

In the same report, Dr. Hagen states: 

The collection of New England insects, I am sorry to say, 
is one of the weakest parts of the whole, particularly as the 
specimens are more or less badly set. Professor Agassiz, con- 
sidering this defect as one of the most important, invited Mr. 
J. Boll, an experienced collector, to come to Cambridge ; during 
the autumn [of 1871] Mr. Boll collected in and around Cam- 
bridge several thousand specimens. ... It seems beyond 


doubt that the superior manner in which Mr. Boll arranges 
the specimens will soon render the Museum of Comparative 
Zoology a pattern for every entomologist. The winter [of 
1871] will be employed by Mr. Boll in spreading and setting 
in a new manner the whole collection of Lepidoptera, which 
will give it a two-fold value. . . . 

This winter was the happiest period of Jacob Boll's life. 
At Cambridge he was thrown again into association with the 
brilliant company of young Swiss scientists who had followed 
Agassiz to Harvard. Although the great teacher was near- 
ing the end of life (he died in 1873), he was still moved by 
the old enthusiasms and still had the same overflowing kindli- 
ness that had won for him scores of friends and disciples. 
Boll was on terms of intimacy with Agassiz, and was a wel- 
come visitor at his home in Cambridge, where Boll met the 
charming American wife of the scientist, Elizabeth Cary 
Agassiz, as well as many of the distinguished guests. A din- 
ner party at Agassiz's might include such professorial col- 
leagues as Felton, the Greek scholar ; Henry W. Longfellow ; 
Pierce, the mathematician; Asa Gray, the botanist; and Jef- 
fries Wyman, the anatomist, together with such famous 
figures from outside the College as Channing, Emerson, 
Whittier, Ticknor, Motley, and Lowell. Such men as these 
furnished an enormous stimulus to intellectual life. Nowhere 
else in America could a man with Boll's scholarly impulses 
have found more congenial company. Then, too, the rich and 
growing collections of the Harvard Museum — what a wealth 
of material was there ! 

In the Boston Society of Natural History, too, Boll found 
many congenial spirits. On October 25 and November 22, 
1871, he exhibited mounted specimens and collections before 
this group, by invitation, and on January 3, 1872, he was 
elected to membership. The manuscript proceedings of the 
Society record that "Mr. James Boll" exhibited a beautifully 


prepared winter collection of insects from the neighborhood 
of Boston and Cambridge before the entomological section on 
February 28, 1872. It should be added that Boll maintained 
friendly relations with the members of the Society until his 

In March of 1872 Boll was recalled to Switzerland by the 
serious illness of his wife. During the five months of his stay 
in Cambridge he had been able, according to the Annual 
Report for 1872, 

to collect several thousand of insects around Cambridge and 
Boston, to form a biological set, an entomological herbarium, 
to spread one-sixth of the butterflies in the collections of the 
Museum, and to arrange a nursery for raising insects. Besides 
a lot especially selected and raised in his room in glass jars 
and boxes, he established in the Museum four closets filled 
with dry leaves and branches of wood to raise insects con- 
tained as larvae on these plants. 

Surely a remarkable winter's work! Boll took the greater 
part of the cocoons to Europe with him and there raised about 
six hundred specimens. He was beginning to receive en- 
thusiastic recognition for the work done during his stay in 
Europe the year before, and for his collections, especially of 
minute butterflies, which were distributed to most of the 
great museums of the Continent. In March of 1873, approxi- 
mately a year after his arrival in Europe on this second visit, 
he was elected to membership in the Academia Csesarsea 
Leopoldino-Carolina Naturae Curiosorum of Germany, a great 
order (founded in 1670) that included all the eminent German 
students of natural history. Professor Moritz Wagner of 
the University of Munich praised Boll's scientific achieve- 
ments both in a cordial personal letter of October 11, 1873, 
and in papers published in Kosmos and the Augsburger 
Allgemeine Zeitnng. 

During the years 1872-73, Boll was busily engaged in 


scientific study and publication with a friend of twenty years, 
Heinrich Frey, professor in the University of Zurich. The 
two of them studied the collections Boll had brought from 
America, and published together upon them. Boll spent all 
of his free time in natural history observations ; and Boll and 
Frey together made a botanical exploration of the Albula 
Pass in Switzerland — a locality noted for the richness of its 
flora. Boll also prepared some alcoholic collections of mol- 
lusks for the Museum of Comparative Zoology, which were 
acknowledged in the Annual Report for 1874. During this 
period Mrs. Boll was acutely ill: she died in August, 1873. 
After her death Boll wrote to Agassiz, asking whether he 
might renew his connection with the Museum. In a char- 
acteristic letter dated October 15, 1873, Agassiz, although the 
hand of death lay upon him, welcomed Boll back to Cam- 
bridge. But when Boll arrived in Cambridge early in January 
of 1874, he learned in detail of the death of his beloved pre- 
ceptor and friend. 

Recalling the happy days in the Museum with Agassiz and 
Hagen, Crotch and Harger, Boll knew that the past was gone 
forever. Here in Cambridge were still appreciative friends 
who knew worth and appreciated scholarship. Europe ended 
with the Allegheny Mountains ; there in Texas were ignorant 
people to whom the "little old Swiss naturalist,'' with his 
feathered Alpenhut, yellow linen duster, tin collecting case, 
and forked reptile-stick was an object of mistrust, if not of 
derision. Yet with Agassiz gone, Cambridge hardly seemed 
like home. Feeling himself drawn back to Texas by family 
ties, Boll returned to Dallas. Again his letters, which he so 
carefully marked "J. Boll, Naturalist, Box 71, Dallas, Texas, 
U. S. A.," began to bridge the gap between frontier Texas 
and the intellectual world. 

For seven years, from 1874 until the time of his death in 
1880, Boll investigated the mineral resources of Texas and 



studied its natural history. By his work he gained the con- 
fidence and esteem of governors and legislators, and at the 
time of his death a movement was on foot to establish a 
geological survey of Texas, with Boll at its head. In this 
same period he was appointed Special Assistant, in charge of 
the Texas area, with the United States Entomological Com- 
mission for the study of the Rocky Mountain locust — headed 
by the distinguished entomologist Dr. C. V. Riley, with whom 
Boll had previously corresponded. Boll's report to the Com- 
mission, twenty pages in length, was printed in 1878 as an 
appendix to the First Report of the investigators. 

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In these years Boll had ranged far and wide in his studies 
of the natural history of Texas. In a covered wagon he had 
gone out in 1876 into the wilds of Northwest Texas, and on 
another trip had collected some curious heads of fossil animals 
from the rocks in Archer County. He gathered other remains 
of vertebrate animals on Onion Creek, a small tributary of 
the Little Wichita River, a few miles east of present Archer 
City. These he brought back to Dallas, along with other col- 
lections. In 1877 Edward Drinker Cope, a brilliant young- 
paleontologist who during the preceding six years had been 
investigating the fossil vertebrates of the western United 
States, came to Texas, and in the course of his field work 
encountered Boll at Dallas. When Boll showed him some of 
the fossils he had collected in Archer County, Cope saw at 
once that here was something absolutely new, a world of 
primitive reptiles and amphibians whose very existence had 
been hitherto unsuspected. Cope spoke enthusiastically of 
Boll's specimens in a letter to his wife written in San Antonio 
in 1877: 

At Fort Worth I collected fossils and living reptiles and fishes. 
At Dallas I met a German naturalist named Boll, from whom 
I am procuring some very fine objects of the same kind. In 
fact, I learned of wonderful things from him, which I will use 
in future. 

What the "wonderful things" were are hinted at in a sentence 
from a letter written by Cope in Houston the same month, 
and reproduced by Persifor Frazer in his biography of Cope 
in the American Geologist: "I obtained a nearly complete skull 
at Dallas, and a wonderful saurian." 

The two specimens which Cope carried back to Houston 
from Dallas were the type-specimens of two species of fossil 
batrachia common in the Permian rocks of Texas, and known 
to paleontologists as Eryops megalocephala and Trimero- 
rhachis insignis. Cope might very well have been pleased with 


his experience at Dallas. The upshot of the matter was that 
Boll received an appointment from Cope to collect for him in 
the Wichita country of Texas, and for three seasons, from 
1878 to the day of his death in 1880, he was Cope's paid col- 

Not that Cope ever mentioned him as such during Boll's 
lifetime. One may search in vain for any reference to Boll 
in the series of papers in which Cope described the fossil 
vertebrates from the Permian rocks of Texas. Those were 
strenuous days in vertebrate paleontology, and Cope was 
engaged in a Titanic contest with Professor Othniel C. Marsh 
of Yale College to see who should describe first the fossil 
vertebrates of the West. Charles H. Sternberg in his Life 
of a Fossil Hunter has told amusingly of the secrecy with 
which the moves of collectors for these two men were made. 
Thus Cope thought it advisable to conceal even the name of 
the collector who had unearthed the strange and wonderful 
fossil fauna of the Texas Permian. But when Boll had passed 
from scenes of warring paleontologists, Cope wrote in an 
obituary published in a journal he edited : 

For two years previous to his death [Boll] was engaged in 
explorations for Professor Cope in the Permian region of 
Texas. He discovered numerous remarkable extinct verte- 
brates, which formed the subject of various papers. These 
number thirty-two species, and they have thrown great light 
on the nature of vertebrate life at that early period. 

This includes practically all the new species described by 
Cope in his first two contributions to the history of the verte- 
brates of the Permian formation of Texas (published in the 
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society in 1878 
and 1880). Years after Boll's death, the fellow who suc- 
ceeded him as collector for Cope, in a paper published in the 
sixteenth volume of the Journal of Geology, said with char- 
acteristic modesty : "The vertebrate fossils from the Permian 


formation in Texas described by Professor E. D. Cope were 

collected by myself and others " An examination of 

Cope's papers, however, will reveal that thirty-two out of the 
fifty-seven new species and genera of Permian vertebrates 
described by him from Texas were discovered to science by the 
labors of Jacob Boll. Boll also, in a paper published in the 
American Naturalist in September, 1880, first intelligibly 
identified the Permian rocks of Texas. And Boll was the first 
man to discover and report the occurrence of various mineral 
deposits in northern and western Texas. 

The work of a fossil collector calls for physical bravery, 
unswerving devotion to science, and the highest degree of re- 
sourcefulness in the field. As Henry Fairfield Osborn has 

The fossil hunter must first of all be a scientific enthusiast. 
He must be willing to endure all kinds of hardships, to suffer 
cold in the early spring and the late autumn and early winter 
months, to suffer intense heat and the glare of the sun in 
summer months, and he must be prepared to drink alkali water, 
and in some regions to fight off the attacks of the mosquito 
and other pests. He must be something of an engineer in 
order to be able to handle large masses of stone and to transport 
them over roadless wastes of desert to the nearest shipping 
point; he must have a delicate and skillful touch to preserve 
the least fragment of bone when fractured; he must be content 
with very plain living; ... he must find his chief reward 
and stimulus in the sense of discovery and in the dispatching 
of specimens to museums which he has never seen for the 
benefit of a public which has little knowledge or appreciation 
of the self-sacrifices which the fossil hunter has made. 

In order to evaluate Boll's achievement, one must keep in 
mind the conditions under which he worked — and must re- 
member that, in addition to the hardships described by Pro- 
fessor Osborn, he had to endure the unsympathetic attitude 
of a frontier society that had little understanding of the aims 
of science. 


In Boll's first trip out into the Wichita country for Cope, 
in 1878, he reached the field January 10: the last entry of 
collection in the memorandum sent in to Cope, which reached 
him April 1, 1878, bears the date of March 18. It would be 
useless to list in detail all the finds that made this trip fruitful. 
Yet it may not be pedantic to point out that in one month, 
February, Boll and his companion, J. C. Isaac (an old col- 
lector who had worked for Cope in Wyoming), found stego- 
cephalian amphibians, ancestrally allied to the reptiles, and 
cotylosaurian and theromorph reptiles. These discoveries 
were of extraordinary value. The animals were all land 
forms which had died and had been buried in what evidently 
were delta-formations along Texas rivers in Permian times. 
At the American Museum of Natural History in New York 
may be seen many of these early specimens unearthed by Boll 
— some of them skeletons of a high degree of completeness, 
and beautifully collected. 

Boll's original collection lists sent to Professor Cope have 
a peculiar interest. Their titles are often quaintly spelled: 
"List of fossils sendt May 24 from Seymour in 3 boxes, by 
J. Boll" (containing, incidentally, bones of Eryops, Dimetro- 
don obtusidens, Naosaurus cruciger — "Sceleton of a Reptile 
in clay with very long spines — Beaver Creek" — and Dimetro- 
don gigas). And sometimes the English of the collector in 
the field failed him altogether, so that lists which had bravely 
started out in quaint English ended in still quainter German. 
Mr. Nathaniel A. Taylor, in an obituary notice published in 
the Galveston Daily News of October 10, 1880, speaks of 
Boll's linguistic handicap as a deterrent to publication, saying : 

Prof. Boll did not write much. There were two reasons for 
this. He was naturally very modest and unobtrusive, as all 
men of great merit are. . . . Although a fine writer in his 
own language, he was distrustful of himself in English. He 
wrote in English with remarkable clearness, but in a singularly 



idiomatic way, so much so that his manuscript required revision 
by a good writer for publication. This was a great stumbling 
block to him. 

As a sample of what could happen when manuscripts slipped 
past the reviser, the following passage from Boll's report on 
the Rocky Mountain Locust in Texas in 1877 may serve : 

After my own minute observation, the un winged locusts 
moved from southwest to northeast; fences, creeks, etc., changed 
somewhat in that direction. The very young ones assembled 
already in very thick masses. After they consumed the scarcely 
developed leaves of the lower plants, I saw them eat also dry 
leaves on the bottom; then they climbed the dry stalks and 
consumed the old leaves. They migrate nearly always after 
each transformation, and the more they grow, the more they 
travel. . . . 

When Boll was filled with enthusiasm in the field, writing to 
Cope of his discoveries, he forgot in the light of his divine fire 
even the conventions of his mother tongue. The sheerest, 
purest genius ! Witness the following passage, from a report 
sent to Cope on August 25, 1880, only a month before his 
death : 

Ein Box enthalt 4 Jars mit Thieren in Alcohol. . . . Das 
eine ist von dem grossen gelben catfish & das andere von einer 
Percoider Art, dieser Fish wird hier Proms genant, & hat 
drayerlay Zahne im Munde & in der Hohle des Gehirns finden 
sich zway freie, abgeflachte runde Knochen. . . . Vom Volke 
werden diese zwey Knochen "Diamonds" genant. Ist Ihnen 
dieser Fish bekant? und wie heisst er? . . . Es sind zway 
verschiedene Arten & sind auffaland fast rothgelb, wahrend 
dieselben Arten hier im Trinity ganz griinlichgrau sind. 

This was the gentle-spirited, soft-spoken Swiss naturalist 
who by the sheer force of his integrity and the purity of his 
devotion to science had won the affectionate regard of Louis 
Agassiz, Moritz Wagner, Philip R. Uhler, Henrich Frey, 
August Weismann, Philip C. Zeller, and H. A. Hagen, and 
also had merited election to the Leopoldina ! Of his singular 


modesty and lovableness there is universal testimony. Cope 
has spoken of it in print, saying that "Mr. Boll was a most 
amiable man, and his death is a serious loss to Science," and 
this statement is borne out in the words of humble acquaint- 
ances of sixty years ago, still resident in Dallas. "I can re- 
member him so plainly riding upon his little yellow pony 
'Gypsy' to his home at the corner of Swiss and Germania 
avenues," said one. "We thought him peculiar because he 
caught butterflies and snakes. And yet he was very good to 
us." "He was so kind to us little children," said a white- 
haired woman, "and used to let us feed his silkworms, and 
look at the Mastodon skeleton when we had found insects for 
him. I never knew him to speak unkindly of anyone. His one 
passion was music, which affected him deeply." 

After a summary of Boll's work in the Permian beds of 
Texas, any account of the splendid collections made for Cope 
of living Texas reptiles, amphibians, and fishes would be in the 
nature of an anticlimax. Even the early collecting done by 
Boll for the Harvard Museum, admirable as it was, cannot be 
compared with his last work, his fossil collecting. Finis 
coronavit opus. When one considers the all but insuperable 
difficulties under which Boll worked, the wildness of the 
country, the roads — hardly passable even at the most favor- 
able times of the year — and his distance from his base, one 
realizes the stuff of which the man was made. 

Death came to the explorer in the dug-out hut of a collect- 
ing camp on the Pease River near its confluence with the Red 
River, on September 29, 1880. Here, surrounded by the 
fossils he had gathered in the last few days of his work, and 
attended only by his teamster — a mere boy terrified by the 
sufferings of the scientist — Boll succumbed to peritonitis 
after an illness of ten days. 

Without the applause of the crowd, his merit unknown to 


many workers even in his own field, lacking the academic 
recognition that would have been dear to his soul, with only 
the memories of Zurich and Jena and the unforgettable days 
at Cambridge, he died alone in the wilderness. And yet who 
of us would not have his reckoning for the advancement of 
science ? 

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MANKIND must have its heroes. It must exalt the 
successful man — recount his talents and his virtues, 
weave legends about him, and build up a tradition of venera- 
tion, sometimes to the point of worship. Thus does human 
nature proclaim the worth of its own poor humanity. And 
mankind must also have its scapegoats, upon whose shoulders 
can be loaded the censure for its own sins. Scientific men 
and historians of science are no exceptions. We recount with 
something like exaltation the glorious, independent career of 
a Vesalius : immediately afterwards with hardly less zest, we 
descant upon the villainy and plagiarism of his renegade 
student, Realdus Columbus. Again, at the same time that we 
celebrate the productive life of Marcello Malpighi, who by his 
inspired work laid the foundations for much of modern bi- 
ology, we dip our pen into corrosive ink in order to describe 
Borelli's ingratitude to him. And thus we at once glorify our 
humanity and compensate for our own lapses from the mores 
of our tribe. 

Jean Louis Berlandier is a scapegoat in the history of 
botanical exploration in the Southwest. No less a man than 
Auguste-Pyrame DeCandolle,* the famous Genevese author 
of the gigantic Prodromus of the botany of the world, in his 
memoirs stigmatized Berlandier as a malcontent and an in- 
grate ; and Asa Gray, in his obituary of Dr. Charles W. Short, 

* The orthography of this name varies in the sources ; I have for 
convenience normalized the spelling even in quoted passages. 



has lent the weight of his great name to the defamation of 
Berlandier's character. What appears to be almost a con- 
spiracy of silence entered into by later botanists has prevented 
any adequate account of Berlandier's work from getting into 
the history of scientific exploration in America. Then, too, 
the dispersion among several libraries of the materials dealing 
with his life and work, making it difficult to study and evaluate 
them, has further obscured the facts of his career. In con- 
nection with Berlandier, students of American botany have a 
confused notion of a Swiss botanical explorer sent to Mexico 
by the elder DeCandolle at the beginning of the second 
quarter of the nineteenth century, who is supposed to have ill 
requited the favors which (according to DeCandolle's ac- 
count) were showered upon him. Berlandier's subsequent 
career is usually dismissed with a brief statement to the effect 
that he set up as a physician and pharmacist in Matamoros 
and died near there in 1851. 

There is, however, something to be said in Berlandier's de- 
fense, and a few facts can be added to what is generally known 
of his career. The collections he sent to DeCandolle, for 
instance, contain several thousand species of plants, many of 
them represented by several specimens ; and an understanding 
of the conditions under which Berlandier worked suggests 
some qualification of the harsh judgments that have been 
passed on his achievement. It is my purpose to present here, 
as fully as the still fragmentary state of the materials will 
allow, an account of the inner life and the outer works of 
Jean Louis Berlandier. 

The city of Geneva, which was for long the center of 
French Protestant culture, has occupied a unique position in 
the history of the learned world. The famous Academy was 
founded there as early as 1559; in the next year was estab- 
lished the public library, which later grew to great propor- 


tions, and at one time had as its librarian the distinguished 
naturalist, Abraham Trembley. The nineteenth century saw 
the founding of the Museum of Natural History (1811), the 
Botanical Garden (1817), and the Conservatory (1824). 
The old Academy, which through the centuries had maintained 
unbroken the tradition of sound scholarship, took on new life, 
and in 1873 assumed the rank of a university. 

The great alpine scholar, W. A. B. Coolidge, perhaps the 
leading authority on Switzerland in the last half of the nine- 
teenth century, never wearied of speaking of the unique status 
of Geneva among the cities of the world. 

Considering the small size of Geneva, till recently [he wrote], 
it is surprising how many celebrated persons have been con- 
nected with it as natives or as residents. ... In the sixteenth 
century, besides Calvin and Bonivard, we have Isaac Casaubon, 
the scholar ; Robert and Henri Estienne, the printers ; and, 
from 1572 to 1574, Joseph Scaliger himself, though but for 
a short time. J. J. Rousseau is, of course, the great Genevese 
of the eighteenth century. At that period, and in the nine- 
teenth century, Geneva was a center of light, especially in the 
case of various of the physical sciences. Among the scientific 
celebrities were de Saussure, the most many-sided of all ; 
DeCandolle and Boissier, the botanists ; Alphonse Favre and 
Necker, the geologists; Marignac, the chemist; DeLuc, the 
physicist, and Plantamour, the astronomer. Charles Bonnet 
was both a scientific man and a philosopher, while Amiel be- 
longed to the latter class only. . . . 

Amid this distinguished group of Genevese scientists of 
the nineteenth century, the outstanding naturalist was 
Auguste-Pyrame DeCandolle. Nordenskiold, the Swedish 
historian of biology, in writing of the progress of botany 
after Linnaeus calls DeCandolle "one of the foremost pio- 
neers" in that science, and says of him : 

He was born in 1778 at Geneva, where his family had for 
generations enjoyed a great reputation. At an early age he 
began to study the natural sciences, which at that time — the age 



of Bonnet and Saussure — stood in high favour in his native 
town. After preliminary studies there, he betook himself to 
Paris in order to continue his education as a botanist. In the 
company of Lamarck, Cuvier, and Geoff roy he spent ten years 
there, during which his reputation increased year by year and 
public commissions were entrusted to him; amongst other 
things he was sent, with the financial assistance of the State, 
on scientific expeditions in different parts of France; Lamarck 
handed over to him the editing of his French flora and he was 
finally elected professor at Montpellier. In 1816, however, he 
returned to Geneva, which during the Revolution had become 
incorporated with France, but after the fall of Napoleon was 
again united to Switzerland. He then lived in his native town 
as professor of botany and member of the high council, hon- 
oured and respected, until his death, in 1841. 

DeCandolle mastered the whole field of botany better than 
anyone else in his time; he was at once systematist, morphol- 
ogist, and physiologist. He started a gigantic work, Prodro- 
mus systematis naturalis regni vegetabilis, which was to describe 
all known plants, but which for obvious reasons was never 
completed in his lifetime; his son and many others worked at 
it after his death. The principles on which he classified the 
vegetable kingdom he laid down in a work published in 1813 
entitled Theorie elementaire de la botanique, which he revised 
several times and which is without doubt his finest work, 
worthy to be associated with, and at the same time representing 
a great advance on Linnaeus's Philosophia botanica, which 
doubtless gave him the idea. 

In such an age as this, and only a few miles from the home 
of such a master, Berlandier was born. Regarding his early 
life little is known. Even the time of his birth is uncertain, 
although it was probably before 1805. Berlandier is known 
to have been born in France near Fort de l'Ecluse, a now- 
abandoned boundary-fortress only a short distance from 
Geneva. DeCandolle, who was in a position to know all the 
facts, states that Berlandier came of impoverished parents 
("d'une famille fort paitvre"), and that as a youth he went 
to Geneva to make his way in the world, apprenticing himself 
to a pharmaceutical house. Young, active, and eager, Ber- 


landier set himself to learn Latin and Greek in his spare time 
by his own efforts. On coming into contact with the boy, 
DeCandolle was touched by his energy and ambition. He 
admitted the young apprentice to his classes, and as Berlandier 
made progress in botanical knowledge, opened up the her- 
barium of the Academy to the youth and took him with him on 
his field trips. 

In many other ways did DeCandolle show his good will to 
the young student, and Berlandier reacted well to responsi- 
bility. For instance, when a living ostrich was presented to 
the newly-founded Museum of Natural History, DeCandolle 
caused Berlandier to be sent to Marseilles to receive the bird 
and transport it to Geneva, a commission which he executed 
successfully. Berlandier spent two or three years at Geneva 
in most profitable obscurity under DeCandolle's patronage, 
presumably at the same time serving his apprenticeship at 
the druggist's trade. 

Under this admirable master of botany, comparable with 
Agassiz as a productive teacher, and in surroundings remark- 
ably stimulating, Berlandier prepared himself for a career as 
a botanist. The whole atmosphere of Geneva was favorable 
to scholarly activity. In Mrs. Humphrey Ward's introduction 
to Amiel's Journal is presented a vivid picture of the city at 
the time when Berlandier was in his Lehrjahre as a botanist : 

. . . the prosperity of Geneva was at its height, the little state 
was administered by men of European reputation, and Genevese 
society had power to attract distinguished visitors and admirers 
from all parts. The veteran Bonstetten, who had been the 
friend of Gray and the associate of Voltaire, was still talking 
and enjoying life in his appartement overlooking the woods of 
La Bdtie. Rossi and Sismondi were busy lecturing to the 
Genevese youth, or taking part in Genevese legislation; an 
active scientific group, headed by the Pictets, De la Rive, and 
the botanist Auguste Pyrame DeCandolle, kept the country 
abreast of European thought and speculation, while the mixed 


nationality of the place — the blending in it of French keenness 
with Protestant enthusiasms and Protestant solidity — was be- 
ginning to receive inimitable and characteristic expression in 
the stories of TopfTer. The country was governed by an aris- 
tocracy, which was not so much an aristocracy of birth as one 
of merit and intellect, and the moderate constitutional ideas 
which represented the liberalism of the post- Waterloo period 
were nowhere more warmly embraced or more intelligently 
carried out than in Geneva. 

At the Academy, Berlandier had frequent association with 
DeCandolle's students, a polyglot group, among whom were 
Philippe Dunant, Jacques Denys Choisy, Franqois Marcet, 
and the younger DeCandolle, Alphonse : all of them destined 
to become productive botanists. When Berlandier was study- 
ing with DeCandolle, the master was in his prime — his middle 
forties — and was just beginning the publication of his magis- 
terial Prodromits. Upon this great work, of which seven 
volumes appeared during the author's lifetime, Berlandier 
collaborated in a slight way by contributing a monograph on 
the gooseberries, or Grossulariece. "This work," said De- 
Candolle, "without being distinguished, still for a beginner 
was not without merit" — an obvious understatement. The 
work on the gooseberries was first published in the Memoires 
of the Society of Natural History of Geneva in 1824, and was 
revised for publication in the Prodromits two years later. In 
DeCandolle's laboratory Berlandier also learned the sketching, 
drawing, and painting of natural-history objects from Jean- 
Christophe Heyland, botanical artist and illustrator for De- 
Candolle. This ability was to be of use to him later. 

The impression the young student had made upon his 
superiors may be gauged by the fact that when DeCandolle, 
together with fitienne Moricand, Philippe Dunant, and 
Philippe Mercier, conceived the idea of sending a botanical 
collector to Mexico (then largely terra incognita with respect 
to its botany and zoology), Berlandier was chosen for the 


task. He was so responsible, so vigorous, so eager, and so in- 
telligent! Arrangements for sending him to Mexico were 
made, some time in 1824 or '25, with Lucas Alaman, the 
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the newly established Republic 
of Mexico, who was a former student of DeCandolle. 
Alaman had decided to send a Boundary Commission to sur- 
vey and establish the boundary between the Mexican Republic 
and the United States, and he agreed to attach Berlandier to 
this Commission in the capacity of botanist. Late in 1826, 
accordingly, Berlandier left Europe for Mexico. Before 
his departure from Geneva an unpleasantness occurred which, 
according to DeCandolle, completely altered Berlandier's at- 
titude toward the four Genevese botanists who were sending 
him to Mexico. Some teasing on the part of those charged 
with the details of the voyage irritated Berlandier, says De- 
Candolle, and as his disposition, "greedy of applause, unstable, 
foolishly ambitious and independent," could not accommodate 
itself to the circumstances, he "departed maldisposed.' , Thus 
closed the European chapter in the life of Berlandier. He 
was but little more than twenty years old. 

Berlandier's manuscript account of his journey to Mexico 
indicates that he left Le Havre on the American brig Hannah 
Elizabeth, Captain Reling, on October 14, 1826, and on De- 
cember IS landed at Panuco, near Tampico, on the Mexican 
coast. Here Berlandier lived and collected for a short time, 
and then proceeded along the road from Huasteca to Pachuca, 
Tacubaya, and Chapultepec. After collecting in the valley of 
Toluca and Cuernavaca, he arrived in the City of Mexico. 

The scientific expedition into Texas which Berlandier was 
to accompany was the outgrowth of a long series of events. 
In 1819 the United States, in spite of the clamor of a group 
in Congress who demanded a line farther west, had made a 
treaty with Spain establishing the western boundary of 


Louisiana at the Sabine River. The imperialists in Congress 
could base a vague claim to some territory west of the Sabine 
on the fact that LaSalle, the explorer of Louisiana, had in 
1685 landed with his men at Matagorda Bay and had estab- 
lished the French fort and village of St. Louis near the mouth 
of the Lavaca. In taking over French rights in the region, 
argued the expansionists, the United States had acquired a 
right to the territory at least as far west as the Lavaca. They 
strenuously objected to the treaty of 1819 which established 
the Sabine as the boundary, declaring that "alienation of 
national territory" was beyond the power of Congress. 
Fortunately for the expansionists, before ratifications could 
be exchanged the Mexicans had secured their independence of 
Spain, and it became necessary to reopen the question of the 
western boundary, this time with the new government of 

The United States had given early recognition to Mexican 
independence, and in 1825 Joel R. Poinsett of South Carolina 
had been appointed first Minister of the United States to 
Mexico. His task, as set forth in his instructions, was to seek 
from the Mexican Government a revision of the terms of the 
Treaty of 1819 that would fix the boundary of Louisiana at 
a point west of the Sabine. 

Before Poinsett's arrival in Mexico in 1825, Alaman, who 
had become Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs after the 
fall of the "Emperor" Iturbide, had instructed Torrens, 
Mexican charge at Washington, to inform the American 
Government that Mexico desired to fix the western limits of 
Louisiana in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty of 
1819. Poinsett arrived in Mexico in midsummer of 1825, 
six months after the arrival of the British charge, H. G. 
Ward. British jealousy of American interests in Spanish 
America, especially strong after the enunciation of the 
Monroe Doctrine toward the end of 1823, had found an effi- 


cient tool in Ward. During his six months in Mexico before 
Poinsett's arrival he had succeeded in sowing the seeds of 
distrust of America in the minds of Mexican statesmen, and 
had persuaded Alaman, LaLhave, and other officials of the 
danger of American aggression, particularly in the Mexican 
province of Texas. Ward assured Mexico of the steadfast 
desire of Britain that Mexican independence be maintained, 
and tactfully suggested to Alaman, ripe for such an idea, that 
Mexico establish a monarchy. 

When Poinsett arrived in Mexico he at once took up the 
boundary question with Alaman, but soon reached an impasse. 
As a compromise, on August 7, 1825, Alaman proposed a 
treaty of commerce between the United States and Mexico, 
and suggested that commissioners be appointed by both coun- 
tries to examine "the country within a given latitude, from 
one sea to the other," in order to secure "exact information 
upon which limits might be established." 

Ward thereupon suggested to the Mexican president, 
Guadalupe Victoria, that he appoint as the Mexican commis- 
sioner a young artillery officer who was head of the Artillery 
School in the City of Mexico, General Manuel de Mier y 
Teran. Teran was unquestionably the best officer of the army 
for such an appointment, with excellent training in military 
and topographic science, but Ward favored him for the post 
primarily because he was known to be deeply distrustful of 
American influence in Texas. The appointment was made in 
July, 1826, and General Teran planned to leave Mexico that 
autumn on the work of delimitation. 

But the departure of the Commission was repeatedly post- 
poned. A shortage of funds in the national treasury made 
provision for the expedition extremely difficult. In 1823, 
under Alaman's management, the Mexican Government had 
borrowed sixteen million dollars from a Quaker banking 
house in London, the Barclays. As a sequel to the British 


banking disaster of September, 1825, the Barclays had failed, 
and by their failure deprived the Mexican Government of a 
balance of two and a quarter million dollars still in their 
hands. Thus even after the Mexican Congress, early in the 
autumn of 1827, had appropriated the sum of fifteen thousand 
dollars for the expenses of the Commission, the departure of 
the expedition was still delayed because of an actual lack of 
money in the national treasury. 

Poinsett had in the meantime remonstrated with Alaman 
and Teran against sending a Commission to eastern Texas to 
examine the question of delimitation while the problem of 
the boundary was still, as far as the United States was con- 
cerned, unsettled.* But the money appropriated by the Mexi- 
can Congress having at last been made available, the Boundary 
Commission left the City of Mexico on November 10, 1827. 
As the Commission was constituted, it consisted of General 
Mier y Teran, the head; two Commissioners, Lieutenant- 
Colonel Jose Batres, and Lieutenant-Colonel Constantino 
Tarnava, both medical officers ; Rafael Chovell, mineralogist ; 
Second-Lieutenant Jose Maria Sanchez, cartographer; and 
Berlandier, who had been waiting in Mexico for almost a 
year. Colonel Jose Maria Diaz Noriega accompanied the 
expedition as secretary to Teran. The expedition was 
furnished with a small military escort, and took along in a 
special instrument wagon the indispensable books and instru- 
ments. Following the familiar road of the early days from 
Mexico to Texas — passing through Queretaro, San Miguel, 
Guanajuato, Saltillo, Monterrey, and Carrizal — the expedition 
reached Laredo exactly thirteen weeks after its departure 
from the capital. 

At Laredo, then "one of the most desolate presidios in the 

* In the following January, when the Commission was already on 
its journey, Poinsett signed a treaty with Mexico which recognized the 
Sabine as the boundary. 



Mexican eastern states," the Commission remained from the 
second to the nineteenth of February, 1828, and Berlandier 
made botanical collections. The route from Laredo to Bexar 
followed the Old Bexar Road (not the Presidio Road, which 
crossed the Rio Grande farther up), through present Webb, 
McMullen, Atascosa, and Bexar counties. At the Medina 
the party were met by Lieutenant-Colonel Antonio Elosua, 
commander of the presidio of Bexar; they reached the pre- 
sidio on the first of March and spent all of March and the 
first half of April there. This prolonged stay accounts for 
the rich collection of plants Berlandier made in the environs of 
San Antonio. On the twelfth of April, accompanied by a 


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military escort furnished them by Elosua, Teran and the 
Commission left Bexar for the capital of Austin's Colony, 
San Felipe on the Brazos. The route followed the so-called 
Middle Road, which led from present San Antonio to Gon- 
zales, then a newly-organized settlement still in the painful 
process of being born as the capital of Green DeWitt's Colony 
on the Guadalupe. To the eastward of Gonzales the road, 
after crossing the LaBahia road, continued to the Colorado 
River. Here it joined the Atascosito road leading to San 
Felipe. The Commission reached San Felipe on April 27. 
Because of recent very heavy rains, the Brazos was so high 
that an enforced stay was made in San Felipe until the ninth 
of May. On that day the river receded enough to permit the 
Commission to cross, and on May 11 the expedition started 
up the east-of-the-Brazos road toward Jared Groce's planta- 
tion, "Bernardo," near present Hempstead in Waller County; 
enjoyed Groce's equivocal hospitality ; and made camp on the 
night of May 13 not far from present Hempstead. At this 
place the road they had been following joined the Magdalena 
road and led them approximately up the route of the present 
Hempstead-Navasota highway. 

Incessant rains made going all but impossible through the 
swampy places, and the wooded hills offered obstructions 
almost as serious. Added to these difficulties were the in- 
credibly great hordes of mosquitoes encountered after the 
Commission left San Felipe. On the night of May 14 they 
encamped not far from Groce's "Second House," near present 
Courtney. On May 16, after two days of very difficult going 
through heavy, boggy ground, they reached Holland's Place, 
near present Anderson. Here, on May 17, Berlandier fell ill 
with malarial fever, and on the next day General Teran came 
down with the same disease. Berlandier continued seriously 
ill until the party reached the Sertuche Crossing, where the 
road from Bexar to Nacogdoches (the old C amino Real or 


Upper Road) crossed the Trinity. At this place, between the 
twenty-fifth and the twenty-eighth of May, more of the men 
fell sick. The illness of the men, the scarcity of provisions, 
and the exhaustion of animals and men alike persuaded Teran 
to send Berlandier and the other members of the Commission 
back to Bexar by the Upper Road. As they left, Teran 
directed the scientific staff of the Commission to meet him at 
Matamoros at the end of the summer; he also sent back to 
Bexar the troops assigned to him by Elosua, and, retaining 
only Sanchez and seven soldiers, pressed on toward Nacog- 
doches, which he reached on June 3. 

In the meantime, the scientific staff set out down the Upper 
Road to Bexar. They left the Trinity River on May 30, with 
Berlandier still a sick man ; camped during incessant rains on 
the Brazos, June 3-6; passed the Colorado on the twelfth, 
narrowly escaping drowning in a sudden rise of water after 
a cloudburst in that region ; crossed the San Marcos River on 
the fifteenth, and reached Bexar on the eighteenth of June. 
Here they remained about a month, delayed in their departure 
for Matamoros, as Berlandier said, "by much and continued 
rain." On the fourteenth day of July, however, the staff 
finally left Bexar for Laredo; passed the Medina on the 
sixteenth ; and camped the night of the twentieth on the Frio. 
They reached the Nueces on the twenty-fourth. Four days 
later, after riding through a country possessing some very 
beautiful vegetation, they entered Laredo. 

The party remained in Laredo from July 28 to August 11 
in order to repair the General's coach, which had been broken 
at the crossing of the Frio. All things having been duly set 
in order, they crossed to the right bank of the Rio Grande, 
and proceeding by way of Mier, Camargo, and Reinosa, 
reached Matamoros on August 20, 1828. 

Here the staff waited in constant expectation of the arrival 
of General Teran, who (as it turned out) had been forced to 


change his plans and remain in East Texas waiting for the 
appointment of Dr. John Sibley of Natchitoches as Boundary 
Commissioner for the United States. Teran took advantage 
of the enforced delay to consider military dispositions for the 
protection of the boundary against possible American aggres- 

After some weeks spent in Matamoros, Berlandier returned 
to Bexar, presumably with General Anastasio Bustamente, 
Comandante-General of the Eastern Mexican States. 

In August the Comanche captain Barbaquista, accompanied 
by many of his braves, had come to Bexar to ratify and renew 
a treaty made with Bustamente at Bexar in the early summer 
of 1827. In the absence of Bustamente the Comanches had 
been cordially received by the authorities, both civil and mili- 
tary, and had been given many proofs of friendship. As some 
of the Bejarefios desired to see the nature of the country to 
the northwest of San Antonio and to investigate the reported 
silver mines on the San Saba, an excursion was arranged. 
Lieutenant-Colonel Francisco Ruiz, the popular "Pancho" 
Ruiz who had been in command at Tenoxtitlan before the 
presidial companies were recalled from Texas, planned to ride 
with a number of Comanches at least as far as the head of the 
Guadalupe River to hunt bear and buffalo. Some sixty or 
eighty Comanches were left at Bexar under orders of their 
captains, Reyuna (Queyunes) and El Ronco. Berlandier, 
who had by this time arrived at Bexar, accompanied Ruiz and 
the Indians on the expedition. 

The party left Bexar on November 19, escorted by thirty 
dragoons, and returned on December 18. Their route led up 
the course of present Helotes Creek, and included Leon Creek, 
Comanche Springs, and Balcones Creek, south of present 
Boerne, where they passed the night of November 21. From 
this point they proceeded to the banks of the Guadalupe, near 
present Comfort, and on the night of the twenty-third camped 


somewhere between present Comfort and Kerrville. The next 
morning the Mexicans parted from the Comanches and turned 
westward into present Kerr County, where buffalo and bear 
were to be found in the oak woods. 

The next few days were for the most part cloudy and 
stormy ; the party, after several exploratory side-trips, decided 
to remain in camp until they had got bear and bison, of which 
there was an abundance of sign. On the morning of Novem- 
ber 28, Berlandier, in company with Ruiz and the others, set 
out in a northeasterly direction from their camp near an 
unidentified arroyo on the east bank of the Guadalupe. They 
finally reached some rocky hillocks, generally known to the 
Mexicans as the "Pedernales," and struck an arroyo of per- 
manent water which can with certainty be identified as Town 
Creek, at present Kerrville. Here Ruiz shot a buffalo. 

On December 2, the party resumed its march to the head- 
waters of the Guadalupe, up a stream which the hunters called 
the "Arroyo de Teran," but which can be identified as the 
Bear Creek of the north fork of the Guadalupe. In this gen- 
eral neighborhood they stayed five days. On December 6 the 
party broke camp and, directing their course to the southwest, 
set out for the head of the Canon de Don Juan de Ugalde. 
The country was beautiful. By midday of December 7 they 
had reached the throat of Ugalde Canyon, and entered the 
canyon by a steep and very difficult descent. Its immense 
meadows, of a brilliant green even in December, served as 
pasturage for numerous deer, while extensive oak woods in 
the canyon concealed many black bear, once common in all the 
woods of Texas. 

The party spent eight days in traversing the canyon, and 
left it on December 14 at a point near present Knippa, in 
Uvalde County. They then turned eastward, crossing the 
Seco and Hondo on December IS and the Medina on the 
seventeenth; and on the eighteenth, after crossing Hondo 


Creek and the Leon and San Antonio rivers, returned to the 
presidio from which they had set out a month before. 

On this trip Berlandier seems to have made few or no 
botanical collections, and but few botanical observations. 

During the winter of 1828-29 Berlandier apparently re- 
mained for some time in the vicinity of Bexar. He struck up 
a firm friendship with both Ruiz and Elosua. On February 
3, 1829, he went with Elosua from Bexar to Goliad, to quell 
a popular uprising against the Comandante at the presidio 
there. Berlandier'' s delightful account of the trip (rilling 
some twenty pages of manuscript) gives a good view of the 
country. They seem to have returned to Bexar about Febru- 
ary 14. On the twenty-fifth of the same month, Berlandier 
left Bexar for Aransas Bay with a party of Mexicans. They 
camped that night about ten miles south of Bexar ; during the 
night, their horses were stolen, and they had to return to 
Bexar on foot. On the twenty-eighth, remounted, they set 
out again. The time appears to have been one of Indian 
activity, for Berlandier in his journal speaks also of an attack 
made upon Goliad by the Indians. 

Arriving at Goliad after five days on the road, Berlandier 
met there the captain of the galette Pomona, and decided to 
accompany him to New Orleans. On March 7 they set out 
for the port of Aransas Bay, about five leagues south-south- 
east of Goliad. On March 12 they embarked, but calms re- 
tarded their progress, contrary winds drove them back, and it 
was not until the twenty-third of the month that they sailed 
past the port Barataria. The twenty-fifth to the twenty- 
seventh of March were also hard days, with head winds and 
contrary currents. They arrived at the Belize on April 1. 

The notes describing Berlandier's stay in New Orleans are 
missing. The manuscripts contain only his meteorological ob- 
servations made on board the Pomona in the port of New 
Orleans, April 25-May 5. It is evident, however, that Ber- 


landier loved the French people of Louisiana, and parted from 
them with profound regret. "Fatigued by the monotony of 
a semi-savage life, of prejudices cultivated and spread by 
ignorance and superstition," he wrote in his journal, "I found 
among the descendants of our ancestors the urbanity, the 
soins prevenances, the benevolence, the freedom, and the gay- 
ety which will always be the permanent characteristics of this 
unhappy nation, by all men considered the most civilized on 
our planet." 

The naturalist left New Orleans for Texas on the eighth 
of May. He noted in his journal the numerous steamboats 
on the Mississippi, and made some acute observations con- 
cerning New Orleans and the causes of its prosperity. The 
ship remained two entire days on the bar at the mouth of the 
river. About the eleventh of May it finally managed to sail 
into the open Gulf; Berlandier reached Texas on the thir- 
teenth, and the next day was safe in Aransas Bay. On the 
seventeenth he reached Goliad, which, after his visit in New 
Orleans, impressed him very unfavorably — "a miserable 
presidio," he called it, "without industry and without re- 
sources, today being pompously called 'Goliad' to the end of 
still further involving the geographic nomenclature." In less 
than three days he rejoined his companions on the Commis- 
sion in Bexar. 

The group, it will be recalled, had been ordered to meet 
Teran at Matamoros, but constant rains prevented their de- 
parture. We accordingly have among Berlandier's papers 
weather records made at Bexar for the interval of June 6- 
July 4, 1829. Leaving Bexar at last on July 14, the party 
stopped the first night at the mission San Jose, about six or 
eight miles to the south ; on the twentieth of July they reached 
the Rio Frio, where they were forced to camp until the twenty- 
third, waiting for the swollen waters to recede ; on the twenty- 
fifth they passed the Nueces, and finally reached the presidio 


of Laredo on the twenty-eighth. When they arrived at 
Matamoros, some time before the thirtieth of August, Ber- 
landier's work with the Commission was virtually over; the 
Commission itself seems to have been dissolved in November. 
For reasons which will be explained later, Berlandier de- 
termined at this time to take up residence at Matamoros, and 
he was to live there until his death in 1851. 

Although in later years Berlandier made other excursions 
for botanical collecting, notably a journey to Goliad and Bexar 
in the spring of 1834, his place among the Naturalists of the 
Frontier depends primarily upon the fact that his work with 
the Boundary Commission was the first extensive collecting 
done in Texas, antedating by five or six years Drummond's 
important work in the vicinity of San Felipe and Gonzales. 
For this reason, some particular account of Berlandier's 
scientific activities seems desirable, in extension of the brief 
narrative already presented. Fuller discussion may be of 
value also in determining whether DeCandolle's criticism of 
the naturalist's work with the expedition was justified. 

Berlandier's experience with Texas botany began when the 
Commission, on February 2, 1828, crossed the Rio Grande at 
Laredo and set foot on Texas soil. As far as his activities as 
a member of the Commission are concerned, it practically 
closed at Robbins's Crossing of the Trinity River on May 28 
of that year. 

The time spent at Laredo (February 2-20, 1828) was so 
much time lost, for, as Berlandier says in his journal, the 
vicinity was "a very desert place." At this time events of 
the first importance were occurring in Texas. On the third 
and fourth of February the first elections were being held in 
all the seven old alcalde districts of Austin's Colony. In those 
weeks, too, Stephen F. Austin was struggling with the Polit- 
ical Chief at Bexar, Ramon Musquiz, and with Representa- 


tives Jose Antonio Navarro and Miguel Arciniega for a 
stabilizing law with respect to slavery in Texas. Austin was 
also campaigning for open ports and for legislation facilitating 
domestic and foreign trade in the Colony. But no news of 
these events reached the members of the Commission at the 
deadly-dull presidial town on the Rio Grande, the character of 
whose life and morals Lieutenant Sanchez of the Commission 
portrayed in lurid colors. 

The Commission left Laredo, it will be recalled, on the 
twentieth of February. Two days later, on a small stream 
called La Parida, Berlandier first began to collect Texan 
plants; and here, for the first time, he heard the cry of the 
bullfrog — a circumstance which so impressed the members 
of the Commission that three of them mentioned it in their 
reports. The crossing of the Nueces offered some difficulty, 
as it was necessary to carry over all the instruments, baggage, 
and supplies by hand, and to swim the horses. The waters 
of the stream had an abundance of catfish, and the woods 
bordering it were full of turkeys. These were easily hunted 
with success at night, and were a welcome addition to the fare 
of the soldiers. Berlandier saw many deer, mustangs, and 
bison in the region. As the Commission proceeded from point 
to point, Teran made nightly observations of the satellites of 
Jupiter to determine the party's position; and in this work 
Berlandier helped as far as possible. 

The vegetation became more abundant as the Commission 
approached Canada Verde (Green Branch, in present Mc- 
Mullen County), and by the time they had reached the Rio 
Frio (February 25), it showed the richness and and variety 
that make Texas the wild-flower garden of the world. From 
this point until they reached Bexar (March 1) the members 
of the party traversed a succession of flower-strewn plains and 
rolling hills sprinkled with live-oaks and walnuts. 

The six weeks (March 1 -April 13) that the Commission 


spent at Bexar were full of interest for all members of the 
scientific staff. Berlandier was impressed with the beautiful 
surroundings of the old capital of Texas (its cathedral was at 
that time nearly a hundred years old), and bewailed the fact 
that the Spanish and Mexican governments had so inade- 
quately protected the citizens against Indian attacks in the 
past. Lieutenant Sanchez sought on every hand information 
concerning the Indians of Texas, especially the Comanches, 
thus extending the knowledge he had gained at Saltillo from 
Juan Antonio de Padilla. Teran conferred regarding confi- 
dential matters with Musquiz ; with Erasmo Seguin, who had 
met Stephen F. Austin upon his arrival in Texas in 1821, and 
who deserved well at the hands of the Texans; with Busta- 
mente, a warm personal and political friend ; and with Elosua. 
Berlandier made rich collections to be sent to DeCandolle, and 
the writings of the Genevese botanists show many Texas 
species originally collected in the neighborhood of Bexar. 

Leaving Bexar on April 16, the Commission (diminished, 
apparently, by the loss of Colonels Tarnava and Noriega, 
whose names from this point cease to appear in the records) 
reached Gonzales on the Guadalupe after a leisurely march 
of four days "along verdant hills covered with spring flowers ,, 
and "rolling hills, woods, and small valleys bedecked with 
beautiful flowers, where numerous butterflies flitted about 
making the solitary regions all the more charming.' , Ber- 
landier found the Guadalupe country near Gonzales attractive, 
botanically, although the town was insignificant, consisting of 
but six log cabins. The Commission camped at Gonzales on 
the sixteenth of April and left next day; and although Ber- 
landier had but a short stay (from two o'clock of one after- 
noon to ten o'clock of the next morning) he made excellent 
use of his time. Six years later, in June of 1834, Thomas 
Drummond was to explore extensively in the region of 


The route now taken by the Commission carried them over 
Peach Creek and through the high country of the Lavaca, 
where, near present Schulenburg at the Loma Grande, they 
enjoyed the magnificent prospect that was the culminating ex- 
perience of every early traveler from San Felipe to Bexar. 
Thence they passed on to the site of present Columbus on the 
Colorado River. Here, at Beeson's Ferry, the cavalcade 
halted to mend one of the wagons, and received a most cordial 
welcome which included good lodgings and excellent food. 
At this prosperous settlement Judge Cummins could show 
them with pride his young peach orchard, well set to ripen 
peaches for the first time that year. A grist mill, a saw mill, 
and a blacksmith shop gave an almost metropolitan air to the 
place, which was graced by the presence of the two daughters 
of Judge Cummins and the two Beeson girls. The Alley 
brothers, Missourians, also had very prosperous farms in the 

Heavy rains at Beeson's and in the upper Colorado basin on 
the eighteenth and twenty-second of April caused the river 
to rise, and delayed the advance of the expedition. On Satur- 
day, the twenty-sixth, however, the river had subsided to such 
an extent that the Commission could set out for the San 
Bernard and Austin's capital. The road led through very 
dense woods and over wet and muddy hills. About twelve 
miles from San Felipe the party was met by Samuel May 
Williams, Austin's confidential secretary, who, in the tempo- 
rary absence of Austin from San Felipe, did the honors to the 
Commission and lodged the staff in "a house prepared for the 
purpose," which was probably the hall of the newly-established 
Ayuntamiento. When Austin returned, Teran presented to 
him formal letters of introduction from Musquiz and from 
Seguin, who begged Austin to be especially cordial to his old 
friend. The members of the Commission were detained in the 
village to make extensive repairs on the wagons. Since the 


Brazos was rising, "seeking," as Austin remarked, "to emu- 
late the Mississippi," the party was forced to remain at San 
Felipe for two weeks (April 27-May 9, 1828). 

The members of the staff amused themselves variously. 
Colonel Batres became intimate with Williams and visited 
him at Austin's house on the bank of the Arroyo Duke, in the 
"West End" of San Felipe. Here he saw Austin's extensive 
library, and noted with something like amazement Rees's En- 
cyclopaedia in forty-seven volumes, containing admirably il- 
lustrated articles on natural history by several eminent 
American naturalists, such as Alexander Wilson, Thomas 
Say, and George Ord. The articles on botany and Say's 
epoch-making articles on entomology and conchology pro- 
foundly impressed Batres. Yet that such a work of learning 
could be found far from the borders of civilization, in Texas, 
was only a seeming incongruity on the frontier, as will become 
evident in the course of later chapters. It was precisely what 
should have been expected. 

The soldiers who had been assigned to Teran as a body- 
guard enjoyed themselves in Vicente Padilla's faro game in 
Cheeves's saloon. Berlandier employed his time in making 
botanical collections. This locality was later to be very care- 
fully explored for plants by Thomas Drummond (1833-4) 
and Ferdinand Lindheimer (1839 and 1844). Of the collec- 
tions made here on this journey in 1828 by Berlandier, rela- 
tively few, apparently, ever reached DeCandolle and the other 
Genevese botanists. Most of the species that were collected 
by Drummond and Lindheimer were described as new by the 
British botanist, Sir William Hooker, and by Asa Gray. The 
loss of the specimens destined for DeCandolle is doubtless to 
be ascribed to the conditions under which the Commission 
worked, to Berlandier's serious illness, and to the inclement 
weather that prevailed at the time, which must have jeopard- 


ized very seriously the collections he had made. But more of 
that later. 

Teran, a reticent though polite man, with his own reserva- 
tions in respect of Americans, made friends with Austin, and 
apparently was sincere in his friendship, though not always 
ingenuous. Gaspar Flores, the Mexican land commissioner 
at San Felipe, a friend of both, cemented the relation. 

Sanchez, the cartographer of the expedition, left an account 
of the town of San Felipe which throws interesting sidelights 
on the social life of early Texas, viewed through critical 
Mexican eyes. 

This village [he wrote] has been settled by Mr. Stephen 
Austin, a native of the United States of the North. It consists, 
at present, of forty or fifty wooden houses on the western 
bank of the large river known as Rio de los Brazos de Dios, 
but the houses are not arranged systematically so as to form 
streets; but on the contrary, lie in an irregular and desultory 
manner. Its population is nearly two hundred persons, of 
which only ten are Mexicans, for the balance are all Americans 
from the North with an occasional European. Two wretched 
little stores supply the inhabitants of the colony : one sells only 
whiskey, rum, sugar, and coffee ; the other, rice, flour, lard, and 
cheap cloth. It may seem that these items are too few for the 
needs of the inhabitants, but they are not, because the Amer- 
icans from the North, at least the greater part of those I have 
seen, eat only salted meat, bread made by themselves out of 
corn meal, coffee, and home-made cheese. To these the greater 
part of those who live in the village add strong liquor, for they 
are in general, in my opinion, lazy people of vicious character. 
Some of them cultivate their small farms by planting corn ; 
but this task they usually entrust to their Negro slaves, whom 
they treat with considerable harshness. Beyond the village in 
an immense stretch of land formed by rolling hills are scattered 
the families brought by Stephen Austin, which today number 
more than two thousand persons. The diplomatic policy of 
this empresario, evident in all his actions, has, as one may say, 
lulled the authorities into a sense of security, while he works 
diligently for his own ends. In my judgment, the spark that 
will start the conflagration that will deprive us of Texas, will 


start from this colony. All because the government does not 
take vigorous measures to prevent it. Perhaps it does not 
realize the value of what it is about to lose. 

More informative concerning San Felipe, and certainly 
more objective in its graphic description of this mother-town 
of American settlements in Texas, is Smithwick's account : 

The town was still in its swaddling clothes when the writer 
made his advent therein in 1827. Twenty-five or perhaps 
thirty log cabins strung along the west bank of the Brazos 
River was all there was of it, while the whole human population 
. . . could not have exceeded 200. Men were largely in the 
majority, coming from every state in the Union, and every 
walk of life. . . . The buildings all being of unhewn logs 
with clapboard roofs, presented few distinguishing features. 
Stephen F. Austin had established his headquarters something 
like half a mile back from the river on the west bank of a little 
creek . . . that ran into the Brazos just above the main village. 
. . . Austin's house was a double log cabin with a wide "pas- 
sage" through the center, a porch with dirt floor on the front 
with windows opening upon it, and chimney at each end of 
the building. . . . 

Going down to the town proper . . . the first house on the 
left was my bachelor abode, and near it, on the same side, 
stood the "village smithy" over which I presided. Then came 
the Peyton tavern, operated by Johnthan [sic] C. Peyton and 
wife; the house was the regulation double log cabin. The 
saloon and billiard hall of Cooper and Chieves [Cheeves], the 
only frame building in the place, was next below the Peyton's. 
The first house on the right as you entered the town from above 
was Dinsmore's store, and next to it the store of Walter C. 
White. The office of the "Cotton Plant," the first newspaper 
in the colonies, and near it the residence of the genial proprietor, 
Godwin B. Cotton, filled the space between White's store and 
the Whiteside Hotel, which differed from its companion build- 
ings only in point of elevation, it being only a story and a half 
in height; through the center ran the regulation "passage," and 
at either end rose a huge stick and mud chimney. 

It must not be understood that these rows of buildings pre- 
sented an unbroken or even regular line of front; every fellow 
built to suit himself, only taking care to give himself plenty 


of room, so that the town was strung along on either side of 
the road something like half a mile. . . . Professional men, 
as a rule, did not affect offices. 

The alcalde's office was in a large double log house standing 
back some distance from the main thoroughfare almost imme- 
diately in the rear of the Whiteside Hotel, which building it 
much resembled. By whom it was built, or for what purpose, 
I do not now remember, but my impression is that it was 
designed for a hotel. The walls of hewn logs were roofed in 
and abandoned at that stage. It was here the ayuntamiento 
held its sittings, and this windowless, floorless pen, through 
the unchinked cracks of which the wild winds wandered and 
whistled at will, was presumably the Faneuil Hall of Texas. 

As the second week of their stay in San Felipe drew to an 
end, the members of the Commission, with their food supply 
daily becoming more and more depleted, planned to set out for 
Nacogdoches and the Sabine country. At least three routes 
were possible. Teran chose to cross the Brazos at the Atas- 
cosito Crossing at San Felipe, to continue on this road for 
two or three miles to Donahue's where it crossed the road 
leading from Groce's to Harrisburg, and then to continue up 
this road until he reached the Magdalena road at present 
Hempstead. This he planned to follow until it joined the 
LaBahia road, and so on to Nacogdoches. Ample food sup- 
plies could be got on the way at Colonel Jared Groce's planta- 
tion of "Bernardo," for a round price, of course. 

And so, with some misgivings, the party prepared to cross 
a much-swollen Brazos; on May 9 the mules and carriages, 
with the horses, were taken over to await the arrival of the 
scientific staff of the Commission next day. The expedition 
was now in the last lap of its journey. Berlandier's oppor- 
tunities for botanical collecting would soon be past; the suc- 
cess of his mission depended on securing a large number of 
specimens to be sent of his patrons in Geneva. How well he 
performed his duties has been made a matter of controversy. 


It is therefore of interest to examine the conditions under 
which the young naturalist had to work. 

DeCandolle, in his broadcast censure of Berlandier, has the 
following to say as the gravamen of his complaint. Speaking 
of the interest of a coterie of Genevese botanists in Middle- 
American botany, even after the poor success of Wydler, one 
of their collectors, in Puerto Rico, he remarks : 

We had thought of Mexico because of its natural riches, 
then but little known, and because I had made an arrangement 
with M. Alaman, Minister of the Interior, who promised 
protection for my employee. He did not fail to fulfil every 
promise ; and, among other favors, he attached him to a great 
government expedition for the delimitation of the northern 
frontier. But Berlandier profited little from these advantages. 
He sent some dried plants in small number, badly chosen, and 
badly prepared; he neglected completely the sending of animals 
and seeds, and the communication of notes on the country. 
At the end of some time he neglected even to write, so that for 
a long interval we did not know whether he was living or dead. 
We then found that we had spent some sixteen thousand francs 
for some dried plants that were not worth a quarter of that 
amount. This result, together with [the experience with 
Wydler], completely disgusted us with expeditions of this 
sort. . . . 

And Asa Gray, in his obituary note on Dr. Charles Short 
(who, after Berlandier 's death, came into possession of his 
herbarium), speaks with scorn of Berlandier, who "through 
apparent dishonesty, had failed to make any adequate return 
to the Swiss botanists who had sent him to Mexico/' 

But there is something else to be said in the matter. Dr. 
John Briquet, DeCandolle's successor in the directorship of 
the Botanical Garden at Geneva, wrote these just and wise 
words in comment on DeCandolle's complaint : 

Without wishing to excuse Berlandier for his negligence 
and the shortcomings which his work presented as far as it 


concerned animals, seeds, and manuscript notes, one ought 
nevertheless to observe that botanical explorations in Mexico 
were carried on at that time under very difficult material con- 
ditions, which it was hard to conceive of in Europe. Then 
again ... it should be remembered that the collections of Ber- 
landier aggregated several thousands of species, many of which 
are represented by a considerable number of specimens. . . . The 
collections of Berlandier have furnished . . . materials for the 
description of a great number of new species; it is by no means 
rash to affirm that the importance of the herborizations of this 
naturalist has gradually increased in the course of the last 
eighty years, and that the outlay of the little coterie of botanists 
at Geneva was not made in vain. 

Early explorers have described with quiet eloquence the 
hazards of collecting in Texas: the swift "northers" which 
effect a drop of thirty degrees of temperature in as many 
minutes; the torrential rains which seem like an opening up 
of the windows of heaven ; the torments of droves of gadflies 
by day, and incredible swarms of mosquitoes by night. Let 
the botanist, with unflagging diligence, gather hundreds of 
specimens by a hard day's work : at night there might come a 
rainstorm that despite every precaution would completely wet 
not only the specimens in the driers, but all the botanical drying- 
paper as well. Or floods might carry away the drying-paper 
and leave the naturalist stranded a thousand miles from any 
source of supply, as once happened to August Fendler on an 
expedition from St. Louis to Santa Fe. Elsewhere in this 
book (pp. 243-44) is reprinted a letter of Charles Wright 
showing how the fruits of the labors of weeks might be swept 
away by storms. The field-naturalist in Texas has ample rea- 
son to know that Sanchez's description of a storm encountered 
at San Felipe was not mere Latin, exuberance : 

At about five in the afternoon the sky was covered by black 
clouds, and a little after it seemed as if all the winds blew 
furiously at the same time, impelled by the pressure of the 
clouds. By about six the most terrible storm I have ever seen 


was raging. The rain was so heavy that it seemed as if the 
entire sky, converted to rain, was falling on our heads. The 
woods were afire with the vivid flashes of lightning, and 
nothing but a continuous rumbling of thunder was heard, 
louder or softer as the distance where the numberless thunder- 
bolts from the heavy clouds fell was [greater or less]. The 
shock of the shrill howling winds was horrible and it continued 
until eight o'clock next morning, when only the northwest wind 
that had triumphed in the struggle was blowing and a slight 
rain remained. I gave thanks to the Almighty for having come 
out unharmed from such a furious storm. 

I doubt whether DeCandolle ever experienced such difficulties 
in his botanical travels. 

In what way do these facts affect Berlandier's responsibility 
for non-performance of his duties to his Genevese patrons? 
The answer lies in several considerations. First of all, collec- 
tions faithfully made were ruined by conditions of weather 
for which Berlandier could hardly be held responsible. Here 
is an example : At Gonzales, at two o'clock on the morning of 
April 18, 1828, the expedition encountered a "furious" thun- 
derstorm. The afternoon before, Berlandier had spent 
several hours in extensive collection of plants. The storm 
was a tropical thunderstorm lasting until four o'clock, fol- 
lowed by a light rain that did not cease until eight o'cock. 
Berlandier's plants were wet through, and this necessitated 
shifting them into new driers, an operation that delayed the 
departure until ten o'clock. Tents were no protection against 
such deluges ; even in the General's tent, protection was to be 
had only by covering the bed with buffalo robes. Subse- 
quently, the weather was hot and moist, proper drying was 
impossible, and spoiling was imminent. Thus may be ex- 
plained in part the poor preservation of the Gonzales speci- 

Again, when Teran's train was halted by a broken wheel 
on Scull Creek, west of the Colorado (April 22), and Ber- 


landier again had time to collect intensively, his efforts were 
brought to naught by rains that fell during a considerable part 
of the afternoon. In addition, the difficulties of transporta- 
tion and shipping to the seacoast were an obstacle that mate- 
rially reduced the effectiveness of the botanical explorer. 

But the hardships encountered west of the Brazos were as 
nothing compared to those met with between San Felipe and 
the Trinity. Sanchez, no special pleader for Berlandier, can 
present the case without comment of our own : 

May 10 [leaving San Felipe de Austin]. — It must have been 
three in the afternoon when all the baggage was placed in the 
ferry boat, and, boarding it, we started down the river in search 
of a landing agreed upon because it was thought, and rightly, 
that on the opposite side of the village the landing would be 
very difficult. . . . We traveled this way for about two leagues, 
and then we entered, still on the same boat, through the midst 
of the flooded woods until we reached the road we were to 
follow afterward. We landed after the sun had disappeared 
completely, and we were trying to decide what to do, being 
ignorant of the whereabouts of the carriages [which had been 
sent on the day before], when we heard someone calling from 
the opposite bank of the bayou where we were. We at once 
made our way to the spot where the voice was heard. We found 
a soldier of our escort who told us that the carriages had not 
been able to pull out of the mudholes, and that they would not 
arrive until next morning. . . . Having heard this, . . . the 
General [Teran] ordered his cot to be placed in the woods, 
and Mr. Berlandier and I remained in the boat lying on the 
cargo. To the unbearable heat were added the continuous 
croaking of frogs . . . and a numberless legion of mosquitoes 
that bit us everywhere, all of which kept us from sleeping a 
wink. When the longed-for dawn broke we saw the terrible 
onslaught that these cursed insects had made upon us, leaving 
us full of swollen spots, especially on the face of the General, 
which was so raw that it seemed as if it had been flayed. . . . 

May 14 [Between present Hempstead and Courtney]. — We 
continued our march along hills covered chiefly with live-oak 
and walnuts, and some only with grass. The ground was so 
full of water, and there were so many mudholes, that it was 
necessary for the soldiers and the drivers to pull out the car- 


riages, and even the mules at times by hand. For this reason 
we were barely able to travel more than four leagues during 
the entire morning and part of the afternoon. . . . 

May 15 [Near present Navasota]. — The road continued 
along hilly and wooded country with low marches and such 
serious mudholes that it was necessary to pull out the carriages 
and horses by hand almost at every step because they sank so 
deep in the mud. With terrible fatigue we traveled about three 
leagues, and then the axle of one of the baggage wagons broke 
and we were obliged to halt at twelve o'clock in the midst of 
a very heavy thicket. There a soldier was almost [sunstricken] 
as the result of having lain down in the sun for about ten 
minutes. ... In the afternoon, a furious rain came down that 
lasted until midnight, after which it continued to drizzle all 
the rest of the night, the ground being turned into a lake on 
account of its location, while we were in the most pitiable 
condition imaginable. 

May 16 [Navasota to William Burney's]. — In spite of the 
rain we continued our painful march through the flooded woods 
and after seven hours of fatigue, during which we advanced 
but one league because of mudholes, we camped near the house 
of [William Burney]. . . . 

Holland's Place, May 17. — In the morning Mr. Berlandier 
and John, the cook, were sick with fever ... in the afternoon 
we advanced about a quarter of a league in order to reach the 
house of [Francis Holland]. We carried the sick men in the 
[General's] carriage, and at the house we were provided with 
milk and chickens to feed them. 

May 18. — Near the aforesaid house there was a great mud- 
hole, and, in order to cross it, it was necessary to unload the 
baggage and take it across on mules, a task that lasted until 
midday. ... As we were crossing a small creek, the shaft of 
the instrument wagon was broken [three times previously, since 
crossing the Rio Grande, the cavalcade had been halted by the 
breaking down of the instrument wagon, and it would be halted 
twice again before the party reached Robbins's Ferry on the 
Trinity] and it became imperative to remain on the spot. . . . 
Our patients continued to grow worse. ... It was decided to 
make a bed in the carriage for Mr. Berlandier. . . . Mr. 
Chovell took charge of the sick, and Mr. Batres and I took 
charge of the kitchen, about which neither he nor I understood 
a thing. ... In the afternoon the General fell ill with the 


same fever as the others, and he would have been as bad off 
as Mr. Berlandier had not an accident saved him. At midnight 
the sky became overcast with heavy clouds and a furious storm 
broke out which lasted until dawn. As the water that fell in 
torrents came through the tents, the General ordered that a 
buffalo skin be thrown over his bed to protect him, and with 
this weight over him, he perspired so freely that the following 
day he had no fever. 

May 19 and 20. — We remained in the same place and the 
sick men became worse, their condition being serious. . . . 

May 21. — . . . By persistent efforts on the part of the troops 
and drivers we succeeded in crossing [a swollen creek] after 
losing three hours in this task, during which time we suffered 
considerably because of the mosquitoes that attacked us without 
pity. Hardly had we overcome this obstacle when we came 
across others of the same nature, for these thick woods have 
numerous creeks and marshes that make traveling through them 
very difficult. Finally, the instrument wagon broke down [for 
the fifth time], and we had to halt, much to our displeasure. 

May 22. — . . . food is scarce, even now. The patients have 
become better. 

May 23. — Although we traveled for eight hours in the morn- 
ing and afternoon on the 23rd, we hardly covered more than 
three or four leagues because we had to cross five creeks . . . 
covered by thick clouds of mosquitoes that bothered us con- 

May 24. — The following day we had to cross many creeks 
like the previous ones, and we were obliged to halt at about 
three because the instrument wagon broke again [for the sixth 
time] . The patients were better in the morning, although still 
very weak. There was no other food but rice, half spoiled, all 
that remained of our provisions. 

By the time they had reached the Trinity, the malaria had 
so weakened Berlandier that he could collect hardly any plants 
on the return trip to Bexar over the Upper Road; and the 
great botanical expedition that DeCandolle had set so much 
store by was jover, with results that, to the sponsors back in 
Geneva at least, were to seem entirely inadequate. Disasters 
at the Brazos and the Colorado on the way back still further 
damaged such specimens as Berlandier had preserved. 


DeCandolle, as we have seen, expressed the opinion that 
Berlandier had failed in the mission assigned him. Our judg- 
ment in the matter must take into account the difficulties under 
which the collector labored, and these were clearly so great 
as to make it impossible for Berlandier to do all that was ex- 
pected of him. But another question concerns the actual 
number and value of the specimens that finally reached De- 
Candolle and his associates in Geneva. Here, too, some quali- 
fication should be made of DeCandolle's estimate. Among 
the archives in the Library of the United States National 
Museum is a little volume in Berlandier's handwriting labeled 
"Expedition. " It is a list of shipments of plants, seeds, and 
animals sent to DeCandolle and to Moricand in Geneva. The 
list gives a full invoice of all items included; and from it I 
learn that between April 25, 1827, and November 15, 1830 
(the approximate date when the Commission was dissolved), 
Berlandier sent in all 188 packets of dried plants totaling some 
55,077 specimens; 198 packets of plant seeds; 935 insects; 
72 birds; 55 jars and bottles of material in alcohol; and more 
than seven hundred specimens of land and fresh-water mol- 
lusks, mostly from Texas. These are but the chief collections 

It may be thought that for some reason DeCandolle did not 
receive all the items dispatched to him. I know only that Ber- 
landier's manuscript lists 2320 "numbers" ; and in a catalogue 
sent by Alphonse DeCandolle to Asa Gray, giving the names 
of plants collected by Berlandier, received by his sponsors in 
Geneva, and by them distributed, there are 2351 numbers. 
The manuscript catalogue in the Gray Herbarium Library 
and the covering letter from Alphonse DeCandolle, dated 
April 24, 1855, are all the evidence needed to show that the 
shipments entered by Berlandier in his private book, for his 
eye only, reached their destination. 

Berlandier went out specifically to collect for the Geneva 


group during the life of the Boundary Commission. He ful- 
filled, or nearly fulfilled, his task. If it seems odd that he 
apparently made no effort to defend himself against De- 
Candolle's criticism, we must try to understand the mental 
processes of the collector, remembering that men are often 
impelled by behavior complexes to do that which is inwardly 
repugnant to them. Berlandier soon became aware of De- 
Candolle's outspoken dissatisfaction with his work in Texas. 
He alone knew at what cost of health and spirit he had made 
those fragmentary and imperfect, but nevertheless respectable 
collections. Had he felt equal to a presentation of his case 
before DeCandolle such as Charles Wright made in the face 
of Asa Gray's petulance (to Gray's lasting good), he might 
have vindicated himself and continued with his explorations. 
But he was a mere boy, while DeCandolle was a mature man 
with a continental and more than continental reputation. Ber- 
landier had known him at Geneva, and had observed how the 
whole world came to DeCandolle. What defense could this 
twenty-two-year-old youth make that would be satisfying to 
the great scientist? There was only one thing Berlandier 
could do: run away from the undeserved censure and build 
up within himself a compensating sense of injury and of his 
own rectitude. Had he been able to talk over matters with 
Teran, whom he ardently admired, things might have been 
well. But Teran was a busy man, called to the highest re- 
sponsibilities of state. And six years after Berlandier's 
arrival in Mexico, Teran died, under tragic circumstances, 
at Padilla. 

So Berlandier remained in America even after the conclu- 
sion of the labors of the Commission. He settled in Mata- 
moros, married a Mexican woman, engaged in the pharma- 
ceutical business, and continued to indulge his interests in 
natural history. Between 1830 and 1851 he made frequent 
botanical explorations into various parts of Mexico; and in 


the spring and early summer of 1834, with his old friend 
Chovell, who had been mineralogist with the Boundary Com- 
mission and was then living at Goliad, Berlandier made a 
collecting trip as far as Bexar. He set himself up as a 
physician to the Matamorerios, upon his own recognizance; 
and, by the admission of the younger DeCandolle, practiced 
medicine "in a manner equally honorable and disinterested. " 
Lieutenant (later General) D. N. Couch, who visited Mata- 
moros and bought Berlandier's collection, wrote to Professor 
Spencer F. Baird in the 'fifties that "Berlandier . . . was 
universally beloved for his kind, amiable manners, and regard 
for the sick poor of that city; being always ready to give 
advice and medicine to such without pay." He became a man 
of influence in Matamoros, and when General Zachary Taylor, 
at the outbreak of the Mexican War, marched from Corpus 
Christi to the Rio Grande, Berlandier was the bearer of a 
message from General Mexia, at Matamoros, to General 
Taylor demanding that the Americans refrain from crossing 
the Arroyo Colorado. He was in charge of the hospitals at 
Matamoros during the early part of the War. And at the 
Worth-Vega conference in that city, Berlandier served as 
interpreter for the Mexican general. 

Berlandier met death by drowning in an attempt to cross 
the San Fernando River, south of Matamoros, in 1851. In 
1853 his extensive collections of Mexican animals, his ample 
herbarium, his books, papers, publications, unpublished draw- 
ings, and political pamphlets dealing with events of the time 
in Mexico — all were purchased by Lieutenant D. N. Couch, 
and have been dispersed. In the portions of Berlandier's 
collections preserved in various libraries there are manu- 
scripts on the topography of Texas and Mexico, and on the 
Indians of Texas ; Teran's notes on Texas ; and a host of other 
materials. But of the man himself, very little is known. 
Neither Kew, Geneva, nor Stockholm (although the Icono- 


thcque at the Botanical Garden in Stockholm is one of the 
finest in the world), nor the Gray Herbarium at Cambridge, 
possesses a portrait of Berlandier. The man's work, however, 
is memorialized in scores and scores of scientific names of 
botanical species named in his honor. In Mexico, and also in 
Texas, the epitaph of Sir Christopher Wren is most appro- 
priate for Berlandier: "Si monumentum requiris, circutn- 

Berlandier was born of a very poor family. He acquired 
for himself a sort of classical education: Latin, Greek, sur- 
veying, drawing. He did monumental work for botany in 
early Texas and in Mexico. Before he died he had become a 
person of substance in his adopted city in Mexico, a man 
genuinely respected in a day when such men were conspicu- 
ously rare. Had he not been handicapped by the psycho- 
logical effects of struggle and privation in his youth and by 
a sense of poverty, had he had in his later years the stimula- 
tion of his Genevese home and his early associates, he might 
have become one of the lights of botanical science in his day. 
s Quien sabef 

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TO set the stage for the entrance of Thomas Drummond 
into the Texas of the eighteen-thirties, one must paint 
a backdrop of pestilence, flood, and social disorganization in 
that remote province, which was then a barely planted colony. 

The plague had begun far away — in India. Early in 1826, 
cholera, always endemic there, was on the increase through- 
out lower Bengal. In the spring it reached Benares, and the 
next year Nahin, in the Himalayas. It broke out in Teheran, 
near the Caspian Sea, in 1829, and reached Moscow the next 
year. In April of 1831 the plague reached Warsaw, and in 
the autumn Hamburg. A ship carried it to Sunderland, near 
Newcastle, in October. On June 3, 1832, the brig Carricks, 
of Dublin, arrived at Grosse Isle in the St. Lawrence with a 
passenger-list of 145 immigrants, of whom forty-two had 
died of cholera. On June 24, the first case of cholera appeared 
in New York City, with the first death two days later. 
Thence the plague spread to Erie, Pennsylvania, on June 26 ; 
Cleveland, July 22 ; and St. Louis, September 10. At the end 
of October it had reached New Orleans, where it wrought 
terrible havoc. Thus by the routes of trade did the dread 
disease spread itself throughout the world. Europe and 
North and Central America bore the brunt of a progressive 
epidemic that carried to death hundreds of thousands of vic- 

Austin's struggling colony in Texas did not escape. At this 
time it had been ten years in the making. In December, 1822, 
Stephen F. Austin, with his band of twenty families, had 



arrived on the banks of the Brazos, "in the center of a 
wilderness, surrounded by hostile Indians, and far remote 
from all resources." In the intervening years the twenty 
families had grown to many thousands; a score of thriving 
towns had sprung up and a rudimentary culture was begin- 
ning to be evident. Austin had laid the foundations of his 
enterprise with foresight. His ideal, as he outlined it in a 
letter, was to "take from my native land and from every other 
country the best that they contain and plant it in my adopted 
land — that is to say, their best inhabitants, their industry and 
their enlightenment. " In spite of the difficulties that sur- 
rounded the colony, in spite of weather conditions that year 
after year brought bad crops ("this year has been bad — 
unusually wet, and filled with trouble, but next year will be 
better," Austin wrote to his sister at the close of 1832), the 
Empresario saw his dreams for Texas slowly being realized. 
Then came the cholera. 

It is difficult to learn how the plague reached Texas. Be- 
tween the first and the twelfth of April, 1833, the disease 
suddenly broke out in the village of Velasco at the mouth of 
the Brazos River; as Austin stated in a report to the Political 
Chief at Bexar, about a dozen of the American settlers there 
were attacked by the disease, and several died. Later the 
epidemic spread to the town of Brazoria, thirty miles distant, 
where it carried off a number of victims, the disease being 
generally fatal. The history of Texas might have been very 
different had not this epidemic deprived the colony of that 
military genius, Captain John Austin of Brazoria. At 
Guadalupe Victoria the cholera took off Don Martin de Leon, 
the empresario, and at Bexar it raged in a highly fatal form. 
Later the cholera spread to Mexico; in the capital more than 
ten thousand persons died of the disease. Stephen F. Austin 
himself, in the City of Mexico, was attacked by the cholera, 
but recovered. 


Following the epidemic, which took its toll of the best in 
Texas, came the Great Overflow of 1833. The whole season 
was an abnormal one. At San Felipe, on the Brazos River, 
the last part of January had been unusually cold. In March, 
throughout a considerable part of Texas there had been heavy 
rains and extreme high water. The Brazos rose out of its 
banks, so that boats arriving at Velasco were compelled to 
wait a week before coming up the river to Brazoria, then the 
most important shipping point in Texas. Fields of cotton 
and corn, planted usually at Brazoria between the first and 
fifteenth of March, were completely inundated; in fact, all 
crops subject to overflow were lost. Not until late June did 
the water recede enough to permit the replanting of cotton. 
Corn, which was the chief staple of food, was not raised this 
year in sufficient quantities to feed the people; sometimes 
families went for days without meal. Even as late as May 9, 
Austin, then at Bexar, speaks of the country as flooded by 
excessive rains. To cap it all, an early frost, occurring at 
Brazoria on the twenty-first of October, injured much of the 
cotton, then just opening, which had been planted during the 
last week of June. After a very wet spring and summer, from 
the middle of September on the weather had been very dry. 
It was in general a "year of misfortune/' as Mrs. Holley said, 
"which threw the colony back some say seven years." 

Added to all this were difficulties of a civil and political 
nature. The original settlers brought in by Austin, "The 
Three Hundred," were remarkably law-abiding citizens. 
Austin wrote in December, 1824, to Baron de Bastrop that 
during the preceding eighteen months there had been only 
one theft. In the ensuing decade, however, great changes had 
taken place in the composition of the population of Texas. 
The frequent revolutions in Mexico and the resulting admin- 
istrative changes in Texas induced a condition of anarchy 
which gave to all good men grave concern. Administration 


of justice almost ceased. Overflow and cholera had wrought 
their havoc, but here was a canker at the heart of the body 
politic. The situation is forcefully described in a letter writ- 
ten by Jonas Harrison, a cultivated citizen of Tenaha district 
(in present Shelby County), to Stephen F. Austin: 

Look at our situation under the present constitution and the 
state's laws as organized among us. To say nothing of assaults 
and battery, Slander, Libels, Larcenies in every sense of the 
word, and there have been about twelve men killed among us in 
a few years and not a person judicially punished for any of 
these offenses. 

Austin himself, in the Address of the Central Committee to 
the Convention of April 1, 1833, at San Felipe, said: 

A total interregnum in the administration of justice in crim- 
inal cases may be said to exist. A total disregard of the laws 
has become so prevalent, both amongst the officers of justice, 
and the people at large, that reverence for laws or for those 
who administer them has almost intirely [sic] disappeared and 
contempt is fast assuming its place, so that the protection of 
our property our persons and lives is circumscribed almost ex- 
clusively to the moral honesty or virtue of our Neighbor. 

And in a report to the Mexican Minister of Relations Austin 
wrote : 

Texas is today exposed to being the sport of ambitious men, 
of speculators and reckless money changers, of seditious and 
wicked men, of wandering Indians who are devastating the 
country, of adventurers, of revolution, of the lack of adminis- 
tration of justice and of confidence and moral strength in the 
government. In short, for the want of government that country 
is already at the verge of anarchy. ... If crime is punished, 
it has to be done extra- judicially. . . . 

Thomas Drummond, the Scottish naturalist, came into this 
distracted country in the spring of 1833, from New Orleans, 
where he had been collecting specimens of plants and birds. 
His stay in Texas was to extend over but a short period of 
time — from March, 1833, to the middle of December, 1834 — 


but during this interval he was able to make remarkable col- 
lections of plants and thus stimulate the later studies of such 
botanical collectors as Lindheimer and Wright. Drummond 
himself had become interested in the plant and animal life of 
Texas while visiting in Missouri in 1831 and 1832. There 
he had learned of the collections Berlandier had made in 
Texas, and as a result had resolved that at the earliest oppor- 
tunity he would himself collect in that area. 

He was enabled to make the trip under the patronage of 
Sir William Jackson Hooker, then Regius Professor of 
Natural History in the University of Glasgow, and later to 
become the Keeper of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. 
Working for Hooker, Drummond made extensive collections 
of plants and birds in Texas — embracing seven hundred and 
fifty species of plants, and about a hundred and fifty speci- 
mens of birds. His explorations coincided with the time of 
the cholera epidemic and the Great Overflow, the growing 
unrest over the encroachments of the Mexican Government in 
Texan affairs, and the increasing social strain. In spite of 
difficulties, however, Drummond's collections were the first 
made in Texas that were extensively distributed among the 
museums and scientific institutions of the world. 

This pioneer botanical collector's experiences in Texas are 
best described in his letters to his patron, Professor Hooker. 
These are five in number: a sixth, written in October, 1834, 
apparently never reached Hooker. The first letter, written 
from Velasco about two months after Drummond arrived in 
Texas, is reproduced below (technical botanical matters being 
omitted) : 

Town of Velasco, mouth of the Rio Brazos, Texas, 

[May 14, 1833.] 
. . . We had a favourable passage from New Orleans to this 
place, and on our arrival found the river so high [about 
March 14?] that it occasioned a delay of a week before we 


could reach the town of Brazoria, which is only about twenty 
miles up the river. The country, in general, is low and 
swampy, and ever since we came here, it has been flooded by 
the river : it consists almost entirely of prairies, except that 
the watercourses are bordered by woods, consisting chiefly of 
Live Oak and Poplar, with an undergrowth of Carolina Cherry. 
I remained a few days at Brazoria, and having an opportunity 
of sending by vessel to New Orleans, I dispatched the speci- 
mens which I collected without delay. Never having seen any 
part of the sea-coast in this neighborhood, I determined on 
returning to the mouth of the Rio Brazos, and commencing my 
operations there. I accordingly came back [about April 2] to 
this place, which nearly proved fatal to me, for when I had 
been here about ten days, and completed a collection of the few 
plants then in flower, and made arrangements for going to 
Galveston Bay in the same vessel that brought me hither, I was 
suddenly seized with cholera. Though ignorant of the nature 
of the disease and the proper remedies, I fortunately took what 
was proper for me, and in a few hours the violent cramps in 
my legs gave way to the opium with which I dosed myself. 
In the course of the same day the Captain [of the boat on 
which Drummond had come to Velasco some days before] and 
his sister were taken ill and died, and seven other persons died 
in two or three days — a large number for this small place, 
where there are only four houses, one of which was unvisited 
by the disease. All the cases terminated fatally, except mine, 
and always in ten or twelve hours, save one person, who lin- 
gered a few days. The weather was particularly cold and 
disagreeable for more than a week before the cholera appeared ; 
indeed the air here is constantly saturated with moisture, so 
as to render the proper preservation of specimens a work of 
absolute impossibility. I am almost afraid that the accom- 
panying collections, which I have taken the utmost pains to dry 
sufficiently, may not reach you in good order. My recovery 
from cholera was very slow. When my appetite returned, I 
was nearly starved for lack of food, the few individuals who 
remained alive being too much exhausted with anxiety and 
fatigue to offer to procure me anything. I am now, thank God, 
nearly well again, though my face and legs continue much 
swollen, a symptom which was very violent when I first began 
to recover, and is gradually wearing off. As far as possible, 
I am endeavoring to replace the specimens which were spoiled 




1833 - 1834 



during my illness, and have just packed up the whole, con- 
sisting of about a hundred species of plants, and as many 
specimens of birds, consisting of about sixty species, some 
snakes, and several land-shells. . . . Among the plants are 
several which I would particularly recommend as deserving of 
notice for their beauty : two are species of Coreopsis, one . . . 
extremely handsome. There is also ... [a beautiful variety 
of Gaillardia] — the blossoms are copper-coloured, and the whole 
rises to about a foot high, and covers a diameter of three or 
four feet; I may safely say that I have seen more than a 
hundred flowers open on it at the same time. ... I trust that 
my collection of bird-skins from Louisiana has reached you 
safely. ... The want of my tent and the chief part of my 
ammunition, which I was obliged to leave at St. Louis, proves 
a serious inconvenience to me. Tomorrow I intend making an 


attempt to reach Brazoria again, but the greater part of the 
journey is waist-deep in mud and water; thence I shall go to 
San Felipe, whither my baggage is already sent, sixty miles 
beyond Brazoria. Above the latter place, the river is not navi- 
gable for boats so that my luggage must go in waggons. I feel 
anxious about my collections, which I leave here, to await a 
vessel going to New Orleans; but there is no help for it, and 
from the interior of the country it is still more difficult to 
obtain conveyances, the charge for freight being so enormous 
as to exceed the value of the collections. The cost from Brazo- 
ria to New Orleans is forty cents per [cubic] foot, and the 
amount of my passage and luggage hither was fifty dollars. 
Boarding averages six dollars a- week, and that of the roughest 
kind. It is, however, so long since my hope of being able to 
realize any thing more than will cover my expenses has been 
dispelled, that I am not disappointed, and my only desire is to 
remunerate those who have contributed to my outfit, and by 
the collections of Natural History specimens which I shall send 
home, to give a good general idea of the productions of this 
part of the world. ... I could ask a thousand questions about 
my plants, for I am shut out from all information; though 
Pursh's American Flora is among my luggage, I hardly get a 
sight of it. You may form an idea of the difficulties I have to 
encounter in this miserable country (more miserable, however, 
as to its inhabitants than in any other respect) when I tell you 
that all the bird-skins I sent you were removed with a common 
old penknife, not worth two cents, and that even this shabby 
article I could not have kept had the natives seen anything to 
covet in it; and that I am obliged to leave behind my blanket 
and the few clothes that I have brought, because of the difficulty 
of carrying them, though I feel pretty sure that I shall never 
see them again. These trifles I only mention to give you some 
idea of my present situation; they do not affect me much, 
except as preventing me from pursuing the objects of my jour- 
ney with the success that I could wish. I have not yet posi- 
tively fixed my future plans, but I wish to go westward from 
San Felipe. . . . 

Velasco, at the time of Drummond's arrival, was but a 
small village, having been laid out the year before. In the 
spring of 1833, according to Major George W. Erath in his 
Memoirs, Velasco had about fifty inhabitants. This figure 


is probably an overstatement, for Stephen F. Austin places 
the population at about twenty. The houses were mere 
shanties, with one unfinished building of two storeys and a 
small salt works maintained by the Porter brothers near the 
beach. A keel-boat ran from Velasco to Columbia, but here 
travel by water ended, and the remainder of the journey to 
San Felipe, the "town of Austin/' had to be made by ox team. 
Brazoria was fifteen miles distant by land from Velasco, and 
thirty miles if one followed the meanders of the Brazos. Its 
citizens had made more progress than had those of Velasco, 
although the town was surrounded by the Brazos bottom and 
subject to overflow. In 1833 more than a score of houses had 
been completed there, and it was the most important shipping 
point in Texas. It had two streets paralleling the river, with 
intersecting cross streets. San Felipe, the capital of Austin's 
colony, had been laid out in 1824 by Austin and the Baron de 
Bastrop at a distance from Velasco of eighty miles by land or 
one hundred and eighty miles by the Brazos River. In 1832 it 
was a settlement of about thirty families, with several stores 
and two taverns where travelers, such as Drummond, might 
stay as guests, living on the very simple fare to which Texans 
were accustomed. 

Other travelers have left descriptions of the hardships that 
the wayfarer in early Texas had to endure. Olmsted, who 
visited the country twenty years later, complained of the 
cornbread-and-bacon diet that was still the constant fare, and 
Dr. Martin Ruter, the Methodist Missionary in Texas, de- 
scribed living conditions in 1838 as follows : 

The accommodations, of course, are often poor. Many of 
the houses are cabins, without glass windows, and with but 
little furniture. The chief food is corn bread, sweet potatoes, 
and meat. Butter, cheese, and milk are scarce [where he was, 
at Egypt in Wharton county]. 

Too, the Overflow of 1833 was unprecedentedly high: Erath, 


in his memoirs, states that Indians at San Felipe who were a 
hundred years old declared they had never seen the Brazos 
as high as it was in early May. 

During the summer of 1833, nevertheless, as occasion 
offered, Drummond continued his botanical explorations in the 
Austin Colony. His activities are described in two letters 
written to Hooker during the summer and autumn of that 

San Felipe de Austin, Aug. 3, 1833. 
. . . Early in May last, I put up a box of specimens for you, 
while I was staying at Velasco, at the mouth of the Rio Brazos ; 
and I then stated my intention of going to Brazoria, and pro- 
ceeding higher up in the country. This plan I accomplished, 
though in an unexpected manner, for the river had risen to a 
height so unprecedented, that a boat brought me across the 
prairies, which were flooded to a depth of from nine to fifteen 
feet ! On arriving at Brazoria, I found the whole town over- 
flowed, and the boarding-house floor was covered with water 
a foot deep. I determined, therefore, that my stay should be 
as short as possible, and took the first opportunity of a boat to 
Bells [Landing], where I was so happy as to see some dry 
land; a commencement of the prairie country, which extends 
uninterruptedly to the West. I had been very uneasy about 
my luggage, which preceded me, and I feared it had been de- 
posited in the stowage, where the water stood six or eight feet 
deep, and much property had been consequently destroyed : 
but all was safe, and after remaining a few days at Bells, to 
recruit my strength for the journey, I commenced my walk to 
this place, collecting what plants I could find by the way. As 
it would be impossible to give you a detailed account of my 
adventures in this letter, I will endeavor rather to convey to 
you some idea of the botanical produce of the country. The 
collection which I left at the mouth of the river, amounted to 
one hundred species, and my list now contains three hundred 
and twenty, which are packed in excellent order : also, seeds, 
roots, and bulbs, with some bottles of reptiles. I hope these 
may reach Europe safely; but I am not without fears on that 
score, as the cholera is raging in this neighborhood and has 
nearly depopulated Brazoria. My health continues to be good, 
since I recovered from that disease, although I am necessarily 


much exposed from the nature of my pursuits ; the weather, 
too, is extremely hot, probably near 100° of Farenheit [sic]. 
From this place, I intend to proceed immediately to a distance 
of about forty miles, near the source of the Brazos, when I 
shall be nearly half way to the Colorado river; but I have no 
prospect of carrying the requisite stock of botanical drying- 
paper myself, together with a change or two of linen, which 
this warm climate renders absolutely necessary. . . . 

About one-third of the plants collected on my route, were 
destroyed by the overflowing of the river. Vegetation is now 
recommencing, but I never witnessed such devastation; it has 
extended even two hundred miles [farther] up the river than 
this place. You will perceive that it is impossible for me to 
collect anything like a given number of species in a certain time, 
even during the winter, in this climate. . . . 

During the summer Drummond collected plants west of the 
Brazos, as the following letter shows : 

San Felipe de Austin, Oct. 28, 1833. 
... I have this day forwarded a box of specimens, together 
with some growing plants, and several bottles, containing the 
fruit of a shrub, and some curious lizards and snakes. Amongst 
. . . the packets of seeds, are several very choice plants, not 
excelled in beauty by any species now in cultivation. The in- 
tention of pursuing my way westwardly, which I mentioned in 
my last, was carried into effect, and I returned here [from 
present Austin and Colorado counties] about ten days ago. 
The journey has produced about one hundred and fifty species 
of plants, bringing up my list to nearly five hundred ; and I have 
sent numerous samples of nearly every kind. This collection 
may give you some idea of what might be expected, if I could 
reach the mountains ; my prospect of effecting this would be, 
however, very precarious, even if ample means were within my 
reach, as the Indians have been very troublesome on the fron- 
tiers, and have killed several Americans on the Colorado river 
this autumn. During the approaching winter, I think of vis- 
iting the sea-coast; probably Harrisburg, near Galveston Bay, 
whence I may forward such things as I can collect, to New 
Orleans. I do not expect to make a very great addition to my 
number of plants, but rather anticipate that they will be of a 
different class.- . . . After spending next summer in Texas, 
I should wish before returning to Scotland, to visit the extreme 


western parts of Florida. . . . Since commencing this letter, 
two or three nights of frost have destroyed every vestige of 
vegetation. . . . 

According to his plan, Drummond spent the winter and 
spring months of 1834 on Galveston Island and the shores of 
the bay, hoping there to collect for the museum of the Zoolog- 
ical Society of London and for Hooker as complete a set as 
possible of the birds and mammals of that region. His efforts, 
however, met with comparatively slight success, as for some 
unknown reason scarcely any migratory birds visited the bay 
during the winter. In April he returned to San Felipe, in- 
tending to explore the Brazos in its upper reaches and to make 
a journey to the Colorado, and to the hills of the Edwards 
Plateau. He describes his difficulties vividly : 

... It is my desire this summer to advance as far into the 
interior as possible; but several difficulties lie in the way. The 
Indians are becoming very dangerous, and news has just arrived 
of the murder of a surveying party, consisting of Captain 
[Francis W.] Johnston and nine men, at one hundred and fifty 
miles above this place. [The report was incorrect.] This is 
another instance of the mercy of Providence in sparing my life, 
as I had designed to join this very party, if I could have arrived 
from the coast in time. The necessity of having all the luggage 
carried, is another great hindrance to my movements ; I may 
state that I had to navigate an old canoe from Galveston Bay 
to Harrisburg, a distance of from eighty to one hundred miles, 
all by myself, and with hardly any provisions ; for, owing to 
the failure of last year's crops, famine is threatening the in- 
habitants of this district: and when [I] arrived there, I was 
obliged to hire a cart and oxen to come to this place, for which 
I paid sixteen dollars. But amidst all these difficulties, there 
is one blessing, for which I cannot be too thankful — I enjoy 
excellent health; and, I can assure you, that it has been tried 
with such fatigue that would have broken down thousands. I 
have added a few plants, lately, to my stores, some of them very 
handsome. . . . This is the worst country for insects that I 
ever saw ; the custom of burning the prairies probably accounts 
for it. I have procured many specimens of a curious Lizard 


[perhaps Scelopoms spinosus] found about Galveston, but I 
detain them to go with the others from New Orleans. . . . 

Some months later, after returning to San Felipe from 
collecting journeys to Tenoxtitlan and Gonzales, Drummond 
writes to his patron as follows : 

San Felipe de Austin, Sept. 26, 1834. 
. . . You are, doubtless, anxious to hear from me, no oppor- 
tunity of forwarding any letters to you having offered since 
April last, when I stated my intention of proceeding to the 
Upper Colony [of Austin], as soon as possible. This I did, 
and had reached the Garrison [or Tenoxtitlan], one hundred 
miles above this place; and made arrangements for joining a 
band of friendly Indians, who were going to hunt near the 
sources of Little River [in present Bell County], one of the 
tributaries of the Rio Brazos, when the news that a packet of 
letters was here, which might contain instructions for my move- 
ments, reached me, and I returned hither to take them up, and, 
consequently, lost the chance of accompanying the Indians. 
... I am sorry to say that I have found no insects, as they 
are very scarce in these and all prairie countries, owing to the 
frequent burning [over] of these lands. The whole country, 
from the Rio Colorado to the Guadaloup [sic], a distance of 
eighty or ninety miles, is as destitute of verdure as the streets 
of Glasgow, except some small patches along the creeks. After 
returning to San Felipe [from Tenoxtitlan], for my letters, as 
I before stated, I joined a waggon which was bound for Gon- 
zales, in Guadaloup, one hundred miles distant; but having 
exposed myself to the burning sun, in the middle of several 
days, I was seized with bilious fever, which was nigh proving 
fatal, and has been followed by violent boils and a disease, here 
called Felon [paronychia] in my thumb. The latter rendered 
my hand useless for about two months, and I caused the place 
to be opened, and several bits of bone to be removed ; and some 
other pieces have since worked out, so that I have been threat- 
ened with the loss of my thumb; but I hope to escape this 
disaster. Were it possible for me to reach the mountains, I 
could easily double the seven hundred species, which is the 
number of what I have collected in Texas. . . . 

Evidently a letter written in October, 1834, miscarried, for 
although Drummond refers to it in his next letter to Hooker, 


it is not to be found among the letters published in Hooker's 
account of Drummond's journeys in the Southwest. 

Drummond left Texas about the fifteenth of December, 
1834, and arrived in New Orleans the nineteenth of that 
month. His last weeks in Texas had not been pleasant. "My 
last opportunity of writing you was from San Felipe, in 
October, " Drummond wrote to Hooker the day after his 
arrival in New Orleans. 

I am sorry to say [he continued] that I have had a violent 
attack of diarrhoea, accompanied by such a breaking out of 
ulcers, that I am almost like Job, smitten with boils from head 
to foot, and have been unable to lie down for seven nights : but 
as I am a little better, I hope to be well in a short time. 

Altogether, during his explorations in Texas Drummond 
had conceived a highly unfavorable view of the country and 
its inhabitants. His sojourn, what with the Overflow, and 
the cholera, and the shortage of food, undoubtedly entitled 
him to entertain such an opinion. Yet in his next letter to 
Hooker we find Drummond making plans to bring his family 
to Texas, where, as he said, "a few years would soon make 
me more independent than I can ever hope to be in Britain." 
This letter, which he wrote on Christmas Day, 1834, from 
New Orleans, outlined plans to Professor Hooker that if 
carried out would have been of the greatest importance in the 
scientific exploration of Texas : 

The question naturally arises as to what I shall do at home, 
and as I do not think it would be advisable for me to remain 
there, I have determined, if sufficient funds can be obtained, 
to return with my family to Texas, where I can buy a league 
of land for one hundred and fifty dollars, and if I can add the 
purchase of a dozen cows and calves, which cost ten dollars 
each (that is, the cow and calf) [my fortune is made.] . . . 
I should then have an opportunity of exploring the country 
from Texas to the city of Mexico, and west to the Pacific, 
which would occupy me seven years at least. I am perfectly 
satisfied of the novelty which such a plan would afford. I have 



been given to understand that the Mexican Government wishes 
particularly to have the Natural History of its territories ex- 
amined, and would liberally reward the person who did it. Now 
I am not vain enough to expect much remuneration for what 
I could do, still, with your assistance, I think I might, in the 
course of two or three years, publish a tolerably complete 
catalogue of the plants of that country, and, were proper 
application made, a grant of land would certainly be given me. 
... I find it would be absolutely necessary for me to return 
to Britain, in order to purchase a stock of necessaries, clothing, 
instruments for collecting insects, &c. Upon such articles as 
knives and forceps a person who could afford to lay out two or 
three hundred dollars would make cent, per cent, here, and a 
thousand per cent, on many things, so that the journey would 
cost nothing. 

But Drummond was not destined to carry out this exciting 
plan for the exploration of the botanical resources of Texas. 
From New Orleans he went to Apalachicola, Florida, and 
from there, on February 9, 1835, he sailed for Havana, 
whence he intended to make a short collecting tour of the island 
of Cuba. It was his intention then to go to Charleston, where 
he would take passage for Britain. The particulars of Drum- 
mond's last days are not completely known, but in June, 1835, 
Professor Hooker received a communication from the British 
Consul at Havana enclosing a certificate of Drummond's 
death in that city early in March. Thus, far from home and 
kindred, after surviving a thousand perils in his career as a 
botanical collector, including the dread cholera in Texas, he 
met death, alone. If we would seek an epitaph, let it be that 
of Albrecht Durer, Emigravit. 

Thus much regarding the work of Thomas Drummond in 
Texas. I must confess that the record of his life here is all 
too meager. One follows with a feeling akin to dismay an 
account that proceeds from discouragement to the promise of 
more ambitious achievements and then — the finality of death. 


This proposal of Drummond's to make a complete botanical 
survey of Texas — was it merely the grandiose scheme of a 
visionary? If he had lived, should we have had any tangible 
results from his proposed survey, or would his work have 
fallen short of his anticipations? How might his further 
labors have affected the development of science in Texas? 
Useless thoughts, these, the balancing of might-have-beens ! 

As Drummond is revealed in the letters to Hooker, he does 
not wear the habiliments of heroism. We demand a hero 
with the strength of a Hercules, the will of a Loyola, and the 
impetuousness and zeal of a Vesalius. In the Texas episode 
Drummond seems almost entirely lacking in these qualities. 
His bitter complaints against country and people left as ill an 
opinion of him in Texas as he had formed of his surroundings. 
His letters, published after being edited by Hooker, evoked 
from Mary Austin Holley a rejoinder which, as the only con- 
temporary record of Drummond in Texas, I quote in its 
entirety : 

Mr. Thomas Drummond of Glasgow has done more than 
any other man toward exploring the botany of Texas. He sent 
home many plants and seeds which have been successfully cul- 
tivated there, and drawings of them have been given in late 
numbers of Curtis's Botanical Magazine. He had made ar- 
rangements to settle his family in Texas, where he could have 
devoted himself with ardor to his favorite science, and where 
with his land and his cows, to use his own language, he could 
have been more independent in a few years than he could ever 
have hoped to be in Great Britain. Unfortunately for science, 
as for himself, Mr. Drummond took the year of flood and 
cholera, 1833, to make his first, and only visit, to his adopted 
land ; and in common with every body else, suffered much incon- 
venience and consequent sickness. Hence his views of the 
country are partial and drawn from present personal experience. 
He saw through jaundiced eyes — and not with the eyes of a 
philosopher. Notwithstanding he liked nothing, and nobody, 
he sent home seven hundred new specimens [species] of plants; 
and a hundred and fifty preparations of birds, obtained in a 


very few excursions; and resolved there to live and die; no 
poor compliment, surely, to any place, however we may, for the 
time being, abuse it. 

However he may have fared in Texas, Drummond was a 
gifted naturalist having a distinguished record as an explorer 
and collector in Canada with Sir John Franklin's Second 
Overland Expedition (1825-27). Too, his sets of mounted 
mosses of Scotland (Musci Scotici) and of Canada (Musci 
American!), issued in the late 'twenties, had been well re- 
ceived by botanists; and in 1830 he had been elected an Asso- 
ciate of the Linnasan Society of London. Both during his 
lifetime and after his death, new species of plants were named 
in his honor by such substantial botanists as Arnott, Bentham, 
David Don, Douglas, Asa Gray, Greville, Hooker, Lindley, 
Meyer, Nees, Richardson, Torrey, and Trinius. One does not 
receive such recognition unmerited. Yet so short a thing is 
fame that botanists of the present day have almost completely 
forgotten Drummond. His own contemporaries knew nothing 
of his parentage, birth, early life, or education; and with the 
passing of the years his botanical explorations in Canada — 
truly heroic work — have been to a large extent forgotten. I 
shall endeavor to do partial justice to the personality and 
career of this great but almost forgotten naturalist. 

Of Thomas Drummond's parentage, and the place and date 
of his birth, we can say nothing certain. He was born 
probably in the county of Perth, Scotland, about the year 
1790. His family was a most distinguished one, having lived 
from time immemorial in Perthshire; the earls of Perth had 
been members of the family from the creation of the earldom. 
The family takes its name from the village of Drymen in 
Perthshire, and is descended from a Hungarian immigrant 
who came there in 1068. 

It is not known where Thomas Drummond studied botany; 
perhaps he was encouraged in his scientific interests by his 


older brother James, Director of the Botanical Garden at 
Cork, who in 1810, when Thomas was about twenty years old, 
was elected an Associate of the Linnaean Society of London. 
Dr. Perley Spaulding states that Thomas Drummond in his 
youth worked in the nursery-garden of George Don the elder 
at Dog Hillock, near Forfar in the county adjoining Perth- 
shire. This would have been a valuable experience, for Don 
was a botanist of parts who had retired to the management of 
the nursery garden at Dog Hillock after service as Director 
of the Botanical Garden at Edinburgh. George Don, it might 
be remarked parenthetically, was the father of fifteen chil- 
dren, two among whom later did distinguished work in bot- 
any: Professor David Don (1800-41), of King's College, 
London; and George Don the younger (1799-1856), who 
served as a botanical collector. 

Drummond's first opportunity for important collecting in 
the field came in 182S with his appointment as Assistant 
Naturalist with Sir John Franklin's Second Overland Expe- 
dition, on the recommendation of Sir William Jackson 
Hooker, the eminent botanist. Hooker, who was, as Charles 
Darwin once said, "of a remarkably cordial, courteous, and 
frank bearing," had been since 1820 Regius Professor of 
Botany at the University of Glasgow, and during Drum- 
mond's early years had probably had a hand in the develop- 
ment of his botanical interests. 

It was a great honor to be chosen a member of the second 
expedition that Sir John Franklin was leading to Arctic 
America; and when the chance of an appointment came to 
Drummond, he seized upon it eagerly. Sir John was known 
not only as a remarkably gifted Arctic explorer, who com- 
bined to a rare degree all the qualities requisite to investiga- 
tion in the high latitudes, but also as a most humane man, one 
for whom his helpers, even the humblest, felt a warm personal 
affection. It was an incalculable privilege to work with such 


a leader. Then, too, very little had been done on the botany 
of western Canada. David Douglas, a former assistant in 
the Botanical Garden of the University of Glasgow (of which 
Drummond's patron, Professor Hooker, was Director), in 
1824 had visited Oregon and California as a botanical col- 
lector for the Horticultural Society of London. Douglas was 
a Perthshire man, and it is certain that he and Drummond 
had early become acquainted. No doubt his accounts of the 
botanical riches awaiting the collector in the northern part 
of North America increased Drummond's eagerness to go 
with Franklin. 

The personnel of the Second Overland Expedition was 
largely that of the First, of 1819-22. There was, of course, 
Franklin himself, no longer Captain Franklin, but Sir John, 
F.R.S., knighted and made a member of the Royal Society 
for his gallantry and his scientific achievements on the First 
Expedition. At this time he was thirty-nine years old. He 
was seconded by Dr. John Richardson, surgeon and naturalist 
to the expedition, the author in later years of the splendid 
volumes of the Fauna Boreali Americana covering the zo- 
ological findings of the two expeditions. Gruff though he 
was, and brusque to the point of insolence, Richardson was 
yet extremely kind to his men. Thomas H. Huxley's letters 
give several glimpses of this extraordinary man in later life. 
Huxley once said, for instance, that he "owed what he had to 
show in the way of scientific work or repute to the start in 
life given him by Richardson." In the 'forties he had been a 
pupil of Richardson at the Royal Naval Hospital at Haslar, 
and the teacher, seeing that Huxley's real interest was not in 
medicine but in natural history, had secured his appointment 
to H.M.S. Rattlesnake, then off to the explorations in Torres 
Strait. Huxley speaks of "Old John" in one of his letters as 
"an old hero . . . not a feather of him is altered, and he is as 
gray, as really kind, and as seemingly abrupt and grim, as 


ever he was. Such a fine old polar bear !" In another place 
he reiterates, "I always look upon him as the founder of my 
fortunes." At the time of the Second Overland Expedition, 
Richardson was thirty-eight years old, and had already proved 
his abilities in Arctic exploration with Franklin. 

Another member of the party was Lieutenant (later Sir) 
George Back, who was then just twenty-nine. He had been 
with the earlier expedition and had shown dauntless determi- 
nation. By incredible exertions and sufferings during the 
passage through the "Barren Grounds" of the Northwest 
Territory he had once saved Franklin from starvation. Later 
he was to become an admiral in the British navy, for "in 
bravery, intelligence, and love of adventure he was the very 
model of an English sailor." No danger or hardship on the 
two expeditions with Franklin was too great for Back. As 
another writer has declared, "It may be safely said that few 
sailors survived more terrible perils and hardships than Back 
did in the two expeditions under Franklin, and the two which 
he commanded himself." 

These three were the chief members of the expedition; 
Drummond, appointed assistant to Richardson, made the 
fourth. They all were cast in heroic mold. 

To Drummond was assigned the task of making a botanical 
exploration of the mountains of western Canada, while the 
rest of the expedition, under Franklin, Richardson, and Back, 
explored the Mackenzie and Coppermine rivers, and surveyed 
the coast of the Arctic Sea. The expedition set sail from 
Liverpool, February 16, 1825, on the American packet boat 
Columbia, and landed at New York on the fifteenth of March. 
The members of the party spent eight days in New York, 
where they were feted by officials of city and state. On March 
23 they proceeded to Albany by boat, and thence by coach to 
Lewiston, through Utica, Rochester, and Geneva. They 
crossed the Niagara River, entered Canada, and viewed the 


Niagara Falls. Their itinerary took them finally to Penetan- 
guishene on Lake Huron, whence in two large canoes they set 
out for the Northwest on April 23. On May 10 they reached 
Fort William on Lake Superior, and thence, by river, lake, 
and portage, they proceeded to Cumberland House on the 
Saskatchewan, fifteen hundred miles away as the crow flies. 
Their route led them up the Rainy River and Lake, Lake of 
the Woods, Lake Winnipeg, and the Saskatchewan River. 
They arrived at Cumberland House on June 15, and on the 
following day Drummond parted from other members of the 
expedition to botanize in the Rocky Mountains. From Cum- 
berland House, Franklin led the rest of the party to Fort 
Chipewyan, the Great Slave Lake, and the Mackenzie River, 
and after a fruitful period of exploration in the far north, 
brought them back again to Cumberland House in the spring 
of 1827. 

Drummond spent the summer of 1825 (June 28 to August 
20) botanizing near Cumberland House and on the plains 
bordering the Saskatchewan River. On the twentieth of 
August, the boats of the Hudson's Bay Company arrived at 
Cumberland House. These were part of a "brigade" that 
was going from York Factory on Hudson's Bay to the 
Columbia River country in Washington and Oregon, in search 
of furs. Every spring such parties set out for all parts of 
Canada, and either returned that summer to their bases, or 
wintered in the wilderness, returning the following year. 
With the brigades traveled armed men. The journeys were 
made in long canoes, the use of which was made possible by 
the numerous streams and lakes of the Canadian northwest, 
and the shortness of the portages between them. Joining the 
brigade which was headed for the Columbia River country, 
Drummond set forth in one of the canoes, and arrived at 
Carlton House on the Saskatchewan the first of September. 

It had been a part of Drummond's plan to stay here for some 


time, making collections in the neighborhood; but as the 
Indians at that time were menacing, he continued with the 
brigade to Edmonton House, also on the Saskatchewan. It 
was an unusual trip for Drummond, heretofore accustomed 
only to the hilly country of Perth, Stirling, and Forfarshire. 
It was, at the same time, work that called for the best in a 
man — for industry, persistence, and devotion to science. In 
the account of his Canadian explorations, Drummond de- 
scribes his method of work during the trip up the Saskatche- 
wan and other rivers to the Rocky Mountains, in present 
Saskatchewan and Alberta : 

The plan I pursued for collecting was as follows. When the 
boats stopped for breakfast, I immediately went on shore with 
my vasculum, proceeding along the banks of the river, and 
making short excursions into the interior, taking care, however, 
to join the boats, if possible, at their encampment for the night. 
After supper, I commenced laying down the plants gathered in 
the day's excursion, changed and dried the papers of those col- 
lected previously ; which occupation generally occupied me until 
daybreak, when the boats started. I then went on board and 
slept till the breakfast hour, when I landed and proceeded as 
before. Thus I continued daily until we reached Edmonton 
House, a distance of about 400 miles, the vegetation having pre- 
served much the same character all the way. 

On this journey Drummond made many observations con- 
cerning the birds and mammals of the prairie, some of them 
extended, and all of them evidencing powers of accurate and 
discriminating judgment. At Edmonton House the brigade 
left the river for a portage of a hundred miles — which they 
made in six days — to the Athabaska River. Because of the 
lack of proper facilities for carrying luggage, Drummond 
was obliged to leave most of his equipment at Edmonton, for 
later forwarding. The brigade reached Fort Assiniboine on 
the Athabaska, where they spent three days preparing the 
canoes — this time smaller ones, as the river in places was 


shallower than the Saskatchewan had been — for the ascent of 
the Athabaska to the mountains, a distance estimated at two 
hundred miles. They quitted the Fort on the first or second 
of October, 1825, some of the party, because of the heavy 
loading of the canoes, being obliged to travel by land. Drum- 
mond, as he says in one of the rare bursts of enthusiasm in 
his narrative, "gladly agreed" to be one of these. I quote 
from his account of the trip : 

We quitted the Fort accordingly . . . and started in high 
spirits for a journey on horseback [the horses being furnished 
from the Hudson's Bay post at the Fort]. A heavy fall of 
snow, however, which took place on the 4th, put a final period 
to collecting for this season; it also rendered our progress 
through these trackless woods very unpleasant, our horses be- 
coming soon jaded, when the only alternative was to walk, and 
drive these before us. To add to these misfortunes, the poor 
animals were continually sinking in the swamps, from which 
we found it no easy task to extricate them. . . . The weather 
during this part of our journey, proved very unfavourable ; snow 
and a thick fog prevented my making much observation on the 
vegetation, which, however, appeared to bear the same character 
until we approached the mountains. 

They reached Jasper House, in present Jasper National 
Park of western Alberta, on the eleventh day (October 12 or 
13, 1825) and the canoes arrived the following day. Henry 
House, where the portage began, was some fifty miles farther 
up the Athabaska River, and the traveling distance of the 
portage was about fifty-four miles. They stopped a day or 
two at Henry House to unload the canoes and pack the horses 
for the portage. The brigade departed on October 18, and 
Drummond was left alone with the Indians. "Everything 
was so new to me," he wrote, "and I had such agreeable 
anticipations as to the results of my next summer's occupa- 
tions, that I scarcely felt the solitariness of my situation." 
An Iroquois Indian hunter named Baptiste had been assigned 
to Drummond by MacMillen, one of the Hudson's Bay of- 


ficials ; and in late October Drummond, Baptiste, Baptiste's 
sister, and her husband set out down the Athabaska for the 
Little Smoky, one of the eastern tributaries of the Peace, 
where Baptiste had proposed they should spend the winter. 
They never reached their destination. It appears that Bap- 
tiste's sister was on their journey taken in labor ; that accord- 
ing to the customs of the Iroquois, she had to quit their tent 
until labor was over; and that, "owing to the extreme severity 
of the weather, the ground being covered with snow, and the 
mercury indicating 38 degrees below zero, both the mother 
and her infant perished." The surviving brother and husband 
were paralyzed by grief, and became so despondent that it 
was ten or fifteen days before they could be induced to quit 
the spot. They then went eastward to the Berland River, 
which they reached on January 1, 1826. In this locality 
Drummond remained until April. 

Drummond has left an account of his first winter in the 
Canadian northwest, a narrative which is of value in showing 
the stuff of which the man was made. In his record of his 
travels, he says : 

As we were now likely to remain stationary for a short time, 
I set about building myself a brushwood tent, formed of the 
boughs of the White Spruce, and soon completed it. ... A 
slight shower of rain fell about the 10th of January, which is 
a very rare phenomenon at this time of the year; and it caused 
us great inconvenience ... it became almost impossible to get 
near any animal [desired for food], owing to the noise made 
in walking, by the breaking of the [snow] crust. At this time, 
. . . the snow was about two feet deep, and it gradually in- 
creased till the 27th of March, its greatest average depth being 
from five to six feet. . . . The animals of all kinds were be- 
coming more and more scarce, so that my hunter resolved upon 
leaving this spot, and accordingly removed 80 or 100 miles 
farther down the river, but I preferred remaining where I was, 
though my situation became very lonely, being deprived of 
books or any source of amusement. When the weather per- 
mitted, I generally took a walk, to habituate myself to the use 


of snow shoes, but I added very little to my collections. The 
hunter returned about the beginning of March, bringing with 
him some venison. 

On April 1 Drummond set out for Jasper House, more 
than a hundred and fifty miles away as the crow flies. Here 
he hoped to receive letters from Sir John Franklin, who with 
all his company had been passing the winter at Fort Franklin 
on Great Bear Lake. Drummond hoped also to have word 
from home ; and he was eager to collect specimens of the many 
migrant birds that stopped on the lakes near Jasper House — 
Brule, Jasper, Maligne, and smaller lakes along the Atha- 
baska. He made the trip, "the greatest journey [he] had 
ever yet performed in snow shoes," in six days, arriving at 
Jasper House on April 7, 1826. Two days later an official of 
the Hudson's Bay Company arrived from Edmonton House 
with Drummond's luggage, and more paper for pressing 
plants. From April 9 to May 6 Drummond collected birds on 
a small lake fifty miles away near Henry House, subsisting 
largely on whiten sh, which he found abundant in the lake. 
The fur brigade returning from the Columbia River country 
came over the portage the sixth of May, and found Drum- 
mond at Henry House. He yielded to their importunities to 
accompany them as far as Jasper House. On the way he had 
an adventure which threatened to end his botanical career 
then and there. I quote from his account : 

I went on before [the brigade] for a few miles, to procure 
specimens of a [moss], which I had previously observed in a 
small rivulet on our track. On this occasion I had a narrow 
escape from the jaws of a grisly [sic] bear; for, while passing 
through a small open glade, intent upon discovering the moss 
of which I was in search, I was surprised by hearing a sudden 
rush and then a harsh growl, just behind me; and on looking 
round, I beheld a large bear approaching towards me, and two 
young ones making off in a contrary direction as fast as pos- 
sible. . . . This was the first I had met with. She halted 
within two or three yards of me, growling and rearing herself 


on her hind feet, then suddenly wheeled about, and went off in 
the direction the young ones had taken, probably to ascertain 
whether they were safe. During this momentary absence, I 
drew from my gun the small shot with which I had been firing 
at ducks during the morning, and which, I was well aware, 
would avail me nothing against so large and powerful a crea- 
ture, and replaced it with ball. The bear, meanwhile, had ad- 
vanced and retreated two or three times, apparently more furi- 
ous than ever; halting at each interval within a shorter and 
shorter distance from me, always raising herself on her hind 
legs, and growling a horrible defiance, and at length approach- 
ing to within the length of my gun from me. Now was my 
time to fire : but judge of my alarm and mortification, when I 
found that my gun would not go off! The morning had been 
wet, and the damp had been communicated to the powder. My 
only resource was to plant myself firm and stationary, in the 
hope of disabling the bear by a blow on her head with the butt 
end of my gun, when she should throw herself on me to seize 
me. She had gone and returned a dozen times, her rage appar- 
ently increasing with her additional confidence, and I momen- 
tarily expected to find myself in her gripe, when the dogs be- 
longing to the brigade made their appearance, but on beholding 
the bear they fled with all possible speed. The horsemen were 
just behind, but such was the surprise and alarm of the whole 
party, that though there were several hunters and at least half- 
a-dozen guns among them, the bear made her escape unhurt. 
. . . For the future, I took care to keep my gun in better 
order, but I found, by future experience, that the best mode of 
getting rid of the bears when attacked by them, was to rattle 
my vasculum, or specimen box, when they immediately decamp. 
. . . My adventure with the bear did not, however, prevent my 
accomplishing the collecting of the Jungermannia [moss]. 

The summer and autumn of 1826 were filled with incessant 
travel and collecting, in spite of the plagues of mosquitoes 
caused by unusually heavy rains in the spring. After remain- 
ing at Jasper House from May 17 to June 15 collecting plants, 
Drummond spent the last half of June and nearly all of July 
near Lac-la-Pierre in the mountains to the north, returning 
to Jasper House before the end of July. In early August he 
again set out for Lac-la-Pierre, and later continued his 


journey to Providence on the Smoky River. This trip 
(August 4-24) was rather unproductive. In late September 
Drummond was still on the Smoky making pemmican from 
buffalo flesh in preparation for a return to the Columbia 
Portage. The return journey to the portage, which he reached 
October 17, was made by way of Edmonton House on the 
Saskatchewan. Joining a party of fur-traders that were 
making the portage, he went to its west end, the Boat En- 
campment of the Columbia. On the way he fell in with Finan 
McDonald, a man of twenty years' service with the North- 
west Company in western Canada. McDonald, who was 
quitting the country which he had long made his home, was 
setting out for the east, accompanied by his wife and family. 
The party reached Jasper House on October 30, and taking 
a boat to carry their belongings, started on November 12 to 
descend the Athabaska River to Fort Assiniboine. When 
they were about halfway to their destination, the stage of the 
water being very low and the weather being cold, with heavy 
snow, they stuck fast in the ice, and had to continue their trip 
by land. To quote Drummond: 

As Mr. M'Donald's family were incapable of travelling, he 
agreed to encamp and remain with the luggage, . . . [while 
Drummond went on foot to Fort Assiniboine] whence we were 
to send horses to his assistance. We had calculated on reaching 
this place in three days, but it was the fifth evening before we 
arrived, having, however, met with no other hindrance than the 
unavoidable hardships of such a journey. . . . We received 
much kindness, on our arrival, from . . . the gentleman who 
has charge of the Fort, who also sent horses ... to the relief 
of Mr. M' Donald who had suffered great anxiety . . . and 
whose provisions were nearly exhausted. He reached us, hap- 
pily, about tht 1st of December, bringing with him the whole 
of the luggage in good order. 

On December 15, 1826, Drummond reached Edmonton 
House, and he remained there until mid-March preparing his 


specimens for shipment to England in the spring. Edmonton, 
which had been founded as a post of the Northwest Company 
about 1778, was now a small settlement of employees of the 
united Hudson's Bay and Northwest Company. It was the 
northwest center for the Company, and offered a convenient 
wintering-place for the naturalist. In early February Drum- 
mond received a letter from Richardson telling him of the 
success of the northern expeditions, and asking Drummond 
to meet him at Carlton House, two hundred miles up the 
Saskatchewan, as soon as was convenient. On March 15, 
1827, accompanied by an Indian guide, Drummond set out 
for his destination, but fearing hostile Indians, they took a 
course that led them greatly out of their way. Snow-blindness 
retarded their progress and made it impossible for them to 
shoot game. As a result, their provisions gave' out, and they 
were driven to the ultimate necessity of devouring the dried 
skins of animals which Drummond had taken for the Zo- 
ological Society of London. "Our dogs became [excessively] 
fatigued," Drummond relates, "and so we were under the 
necessity of cutting up our sledge and carrying our luggage 
ourselves." Furthermore: 

The provisions were wholly spent, and I was compelled to 
destroy a fine specimen of the Jumping Deer, . . . although 
it was the only one that we had been able to procure, and I had 
carried it all the way from the Columbia River, where I had 
procured it. As I had not been very particular in divesting this 
skin of the flesh, it proved the more valuable on that account. 
. . . Within about a day's journey of the Fort, . . . we had 
the good fortune to kill a Skunk, . . . which afforded us a 
comfortable meal. This creature, when hunted, discharges an 
intolerably fetid liquor upon its pursuers, and few dogs will 
afterward attempt to destroy it. The one we killed on the 
evening before we reached the Fort, proved tolerable eating, 
though it had a strong flavour of this obnoxious liquid. 

At Carlton House they found that Richardson had become 


anxious about them. From April 5 until July 14 Drummond 
remained in the neighborhood of Carlton House, or engaged 
in explorations on the South Branch of the Saskatchewan 
River, probably getting as far south as present Saskatoon. 
He joined the rest of the party at Cumberland House on July 
19, and with them went down the Saskatchewan and Nelson 
rivers, by portages, to York Factory on Hudson's Bay, whence 
they set sail for England. On October 15, 1827, two years 
and eight months from the time of their departure from 
Liverpool, they arrived in London. 

The rest of the story is soon told. In 1828-29 Drummond 
was curator of the Botanical Garden at Belfast. In the years 
immediately following his return to Britain, he issued exsic- 
cati of American mosses under the title Musci Americani in 
two quarto volumes, which included specimens collected 
chiefly on his journey with the Franklin Expedition. "The 
number of distinct species, thus procured," says Professor 
Hooker, "exceeds two hundred and forty, which, with the 
well-marked varieties, amount to two hundred and eighty-six 
kinds . . . the whole of the continent of North America has 
not been known to possess so many Mosses as Mr. Drummond 
has detected in this single journey." It was notable work. 
Many new species of flowering plants were also added to the 
known flora of America, some of which are so rare as to have 
escaped the ken of naturalists since Drummond's day. 

In 1830-31 Drummond made another journey to America 
to collect plants in the western and southern parts of the 
United States. From New York he went successively to 
Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, and then on foot 
followed the pike to Wheeling, collecting by the way. He 
planned to reach St. Louis in time to accompany Kenneth 
MacKenzie, a fellow-Scot of distinguished family who was 
in charge of the Upper Missouri Outfit of the American Fur 
Company, on his journey up into the Blackfoot and Assini- 


boine country of the upper Missouri Valley, in present Mon- 
tana. But as Drummond arrived too late to join MacKenzie, 
he remained at St. Louis until winter, making large collections 
of plants for Hooker in the vicinity. In Hooker's papers on 
Drummond's collections he lists numerous species collected 
in the Alleghenies, in Ohio, and at St. Louis, Jacksonville, 
Covington, and New Orleans. Drummond's best collecting 
during the years 1831-32 appears to have been done in the 
vicinity of New Orleans. In the spring of 1833 he left for 
Texas, on the journey which has already been described. 

And now we come back to the central questions of Thomas 
Drummond's life. What was his essential character, and 
what would have been his influence on the development of 
botany in Texas had he lived and carried into effect the plans 
sketched for Hooker in his letter of Christmas Day, 1834? 
I confess to a sense of inadequacy in forming a judgment con- 
cerning a man of Drummond's cast of mind. Racial char- 
acteristics are so marked that only a Scot can judge a Scot. 
An admirable people, indeed, of brusque tenderness and grim 
kindness ! 

Yet the personality of the man emerges from his writings, 
however he may avoid the personal note. He was innately 
modest, but still he had a wholesome self-respect and a habit 
of self -appraisal of his work. The experiences recorded in 
the account of the Canadian explorations are narrated objec- 
tively. There is neither strutting nor mock heroics. Running 
through the whole is an undercurrent of conviction that the 
tasks were all in the day's work, duties that must be done 
without praise and without clamor. The descriptions of 
hardship, privation, severe exertion, and even of mortal' 
danger merge into a tale of quiet brevity that runs along 
without break, highlight, or straining for dramatic effect. In 
Drummond's description of the country he explored in the 


vicinity of the Portage, he shows the greatest moderation. 
Few who have been in the territory he explored, and have 
gazed at Mount Robson, or Lake Maligne, or the Athabaska 
as it winds through the mountains to the east of the Great 
Divide between walls of snow-capped mountains, have been 
so restrained. An alpine region of incredible beauty — the 
finest on the Continent, and among the finest in the world — 
prompted Drummond to only brief comment. One is almost 
reminded of Herbert Spencer, who gazed on Niagara (was it 
from the American side?) and remarked: "Much what I ex- 
pected !" 

As a rule men easily bear exceptional hardships and dan- 
gers, only to sink under common and long-continued burdens. 
Every traveler in the Arctic regions, even Sir John Franklin, 
has mentioned as chief among the burdens to be borne, the 
incredible clouds of mosquitoes that make life in high latitudes 
a misery. Such pests Drummond dismisses with a shrug — 
"the mosquitoes are much more plentiful here than I saw them 
anywhere else" — until one gets almost the sense of profanity 
when later he ejaculates, "The mosquitoes are also dreadfully 
numerous !" 

There are a few touches of beauty in Drummond's account 
which reveal the hidden poet : descriptions of the fragrance of 
a flower, or the courtship or song of a bird — but these matters, 
also, are treated with restraint. Of a range of mountains 
whose beauty could hardly be suggested by a rainbow of 
words, he said, "They gratified me extremely." A few pages 
later, describing another sierra, he wrote with true Spartan 
frugality, "a fine range of mountains." This is the highland 
Scot, feeling dimly and massively the beauty and grandeur 
of nature, yet burying the current of his emotion deep beneath 
the surface. 

The privations that Drummond underwent in the mountains 
of Canada far surpassed those he suffered in Texas. Yet in 


the one account we find a quiet Scottish song of jubilation; in 
the other, a succession of jeremiads. It must be recalled, how- 
ever, that during his sojourn in Texas Drummond was suf- 
fering the cumulative effect of past privations and exposures. 
During a good share of the time that he had spent at St. Louis 
in 1831, he had been ill. Seven years had passed since he had 
done his best work in the Canadian Rockies. For two years 
and more he had been separated from his family, without the 
bracing stimulation of association, in spirit at least, with the 
heroic men of the Franklin Expedition. Too, he was work- 
ing in a territory which might have been called American, 
instead of British, and that made a vast difference. And 
finally, not to speak of the personal afflictions that beset him, 
it must have been hard for the scientist from Glasgow to 
endure the social conditions of frontier Texas. Accustomed 
to a civilization where intellectual pursuits were respected for 
their own sake, where that fine aphorism of John Knox had 
worked itself into the inner consciousness of the people — 
"Every scholar is so much added to the riches of the Com- 
monwealth" — Drummond must have found it disheartening 
to see how little attention was paid to education and intellec- 
tual pursuits generally in the Texas of the early 'thirties. 
Reared as he had been with an ingrained respect for law and 
order, Drummond must also have viewed with sharp distaste 
the looseness of administration of justice in early Texas. One 
does not need to share the attitude, but one can comprehend it. 
When all is said, the fact remains that law and order, as we 
conceive them, were in the Texas of Drummond's day ideals 
to be sought after rather than possessions to be enjoyed. 

Yet Drummond saw potentialities in Texas. For him Texas 
was indeed the opportunity of a lifetime. Had he made his 
permanent home here, the botanical history of Texas would 
have been written very differently. There would have been 
no Lindheimer, no Wright, no Reverchon, no S. B. Buckley, 


no Lincecum, collecting plants for Asa Gray and Elias Durand 
and George Engelmann. Before their day the flora of Texas 
would have been described by Hooker, Bentham, Lindley, 
David Don, and other British botanists. By the time that 
Charles Wright and John James Audubon came to Texas, 
the botany of all that part of Texas which had been wrested 
from the Indians would have been open to the world. And the 
work in Mexico, begun by Berlandier, would have been greatly 
advanced. For where Berlandier was weak, there Drummond 
was strong. 

A man of tremendous physical energy, of persistence, of 
unsuspected idealism, of complete devotion to science ^forget- 
ful of self, pursuing his unreasoning love for botany without 
any recking or calculating of the end — such was Thomas 
Drummond. It seems an unnecessarily cruel fate that kept 
him from bringing to completion his work in Texas. 

- > » »> ->» »> »> »> »> ») > X <- « C- K C- «c - « fr < « ■ « C- < «■ <«■ 



NE GOES to the little town of New Braunfels in South 
Texas with a recurrent sense of renewal in spirit — that 
is, if he is of German descent, and if his heart responds to 
German song, German literature, German Sittlichkeit, Ger- 
man Massigkeit. There one hears the German tongue still 
spoken with remarkable purity and finds German customs still 
observed, so that now, as in the closing days of the Republic 
of Texas, a visit to New Braunfels is like entering into the 
life of a little German city. The landscape is beautiful, with 
the Missionsberg to the north, forest-crowned ; the Guadalupe 
and the Comal rivers, clear, swift, with rapids in their courses ; 
and the magnificent cypresses along the Guadalupe. In the 
town, itself stand old houses with an enduring charm. To be 
sure, many of the landmarks mentioned by early Texas 
travelers are gone. The ferry across the Guadalupe, at the 
point where the Comal flows into it, has not been in use since 
the iron bridge was built across the river near the old San 
Antonio Road in the 'eighties. Torrey's Mill was torn down 
three-quarters of a century ago. Seele's Sdngerhalle is also 
gone. The old Sophienburg, long in ruins, has been replaced 
by a fine modern museum devoted to the history of the town. 
But there are still many precious reminders of the past. The 
old Camino Real, in "Nacogdoches Street," can yet be traced 
going down to the ford of the Guadalupe where the mill pond 
of the textile mill is now; and the Comal Springs, "Las Fon- 
tanas" of Mexican days, retain the beauty that evoked com- 



ment a century ago. The old Waisenhaus, or orphan's home, 
still stands also, a grim reminder of the terrible days of 1846, 
and on the high ground on Zink Street, near the Comal Creek, 
can be seen the place where the immigrants of 1845 camped 
until huts and houses could be built. The forest on the east 
bank of the Guadalupe at the ferry-site holds memories of the 
ghastly sufferings of the later immigrants in the summer of 
1846. But to me, at any rate, the most interesting spot in 
New Braunfels is the bit of ground under an oak tree — the 
only one remaining of three that formerly marked the place 
— where Louis Ervendberg, the Protestant pastor of the Ger- 
man settlers, held the first religious services in New Braun- 
fels, and where Hermann Seele held the first school. 

Ervendberg was one of the most enigmatic and tragic char- 
acters that ever lived in New Braunfels. The town, for that 
matter, could claim its full quota of remarkable inhabitants — 
men like Carl Jonas Love Almquist, the Swedish man of 
letters, who worked on the Neu-Brannfelser Zeitung with 
Lindheimer for a couple of months in the summer of 1853; 
or the Polish Franciscan, Father Moczygeba, pastor of the 
Catholic church in Almquist's day; like barefooted Otto 
Friedrich, a lepidopterist and entomologist of no mean ability, 
who in antebellum days was sending insects to H. A. Hagen 
before Agassiz called Hagen to the Museum of Comparative 
Zoology at Cambridge; or like Ottomar von Behr, an old 
friend of Alexander von Humboldt and Bettina von Arnim, 
and Dr. Julius Froebel, who in the late 'fifties was publishing 
in the Reports of the Smithsonian Institution notable articles 
on the physiography of America while he engaged in trade be- 
tween Texas and Chihuahua. 

But even in such a company, Ervendberg is a notable char- 
acter. His own descendants freely acknowledge that the name 
Ervendberg is assumed. Although he claimed to have studied 
at Heidelberg, no German university records him as a student ; 


the Central Bureau for personal genealogy knows nothing 
of Ervendberg's family ; even the parish church of Rhoden in 
the old Principality of Waldeck, where he said he was born, 
has no record of him or his family.* Out of obscurity he came, 
and into obscurity he went. And a tragic destiny seemed to 
pursue him. He deserved enduring honor among all that bear 
the German name in Texas for his labors as first German 
pastor in Texas, as the progressive and liberal leader in the 
formation of "The Christian Church of the Germans in 
Texas" in 1841, as the first teacher in the German communi- 
ties of Colorado and Austin counties in the early 'forties, and 
as the heroic pastor of his flock in 1846, the terrible second 
year of the German migration, as 1 well as during the cholera 
epidemic of 1849. But whatever Ervendberg may have de- 
served, his sun went down in clouds of shame in New Braun- 
f els, where he had carried on the best labors of his life ; and in 
the memorials set up in honor of German pioneers in South- 
west Texas, his name is absent. 

Perhaps it may seem a disservice to Ervendberg to bring 
out into the light of day the facts of his life, now that three- 
quarters of a century have passed since his murder in a little 
Mexican town. Yet his life was bound up with movements of 
great import in Texas, and the history of those movements 
cannot be written without taking Ervendberg into account. 
Moreover, his life vividly illustrates the play of forces in- 
volved in human behavior ; it is a familiar if pitiful tale, with 
moments of heroism as well as of sordidness. Though 

* As these pages go to the printer, my three-year search for the true 
name and antecedents of Ervendberg (unknown even to his own de- 
scendants) has been rewarded, and I will probably be able, in a later 
publication, to clear up the mystery surrounding this tragic figure. I 
am now instituting a check of the records at German universities in an 
effort to confirm the newly discovered facts, and to obtain additional 
light on the life of Ervendberg before he left Germany. 


Ervendberg was not highly trained in science when he came 
to Texas, and, as we shall see presently, was seriously handi- 
capped in his efforts to acquire a fuller knowledge of botany, 
still he deserves an honorable place in the company of the 
Naturalists of the Frontier. Furthermore, he was a leader 
in the movement toward scientific and experimental agricul- 
ture among the Germans of Southwest Texas; and, perhaps 
most important of all, his life throws much light on the condi- 
tions under which all the Naturalists of the Frontier worked. 
If the record in the Church Book of the First Protestant 
Church at New Braunfels is indeed true, Ervendberg was 
born on the third day of May, 1809, at the village of Rhoden 
in the former Principality of Waldeck in west-central Ger- 
many. It is a town of some five hundred inhabitants, for the 
most part belonging to the Evangelical confession, situated 
some twenty-five miles southwest of Paderborn. There are 
no records of Ervendberg's childhood or of his education, 
but he almost certainly received some formal theological train- 
ing — probably at an Evangelical seminary, of which Germany 
has a number, some of great distinction. As a young man 
Ervendberg seems to have held an ecclesiastical post at Ank- 
lam in Pomerania, where he made friends with Baron Ottf ried 
Hans von Meusebach (who later became Commissioner Gen- 
eral of the Mainzer Adelsverein at New Braunfels), and 
Georg Klappenbach, Burgomaster of Anklam and later Mayor 
of New Braunfels. Subsequently Ervendberg lived for a 
time at Her ford, a considerable town at the junction of the 
Werre and the Aa in the county of Ravensburg in Prussia. 
Herford had been a member of the Hanseatic League, and 
was rich in historical associations dating back to the ninth 
century; in Ervendberg's day, the Gymnasium of the town 
was nearly three hundred years old. The fine old Romanesque 
cathedral and a Gothic church of the Virgin date back to the 
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. To the south and west 


of Herford lies the Teutoberg forest, where the Germans 
under Hermann defeated the Roman legions under Varus in 
9 a.d. In addition to its well-established textile industry, 
Herford was notable in Ervendberg's day for its agricultural 
school and for two Orphans' Homes established on the plan of 
the famous institution of August Hermann Francke at Halle. 
I have not been able to unearth any particulars of Ervend- 
berg's life at Herford and Anklam, but apparently he was 
highly regarded. That Ervendberg stood well in Germany 
before his departure for America is indicated by the fact that 
when Georg Klappenbach was sent out by the Adelsverein in 
July of 1846 to be mayor of New Braunfels, he was intro- 
duced, according to Viktor Bracht, as "a friend of Mr. 
Meusebach and of Reverend Ervendberg." 

I have mentioned the great uncertainty concerning Ervend- 
berg's name. One of Ervendberg's grandsons by his first 
wife tells of overhearing a conversation between his mother 
(a daughter of Ervendberg) and another person, in which it 
was stated that the name was assumed, and that the father 
came to Germany originally as a French refugee. The chil- 
dren of the second wife of Ervendberg spontaneously reported 
to me the same tradition. But the matter is at best obscure. 
Ervendberg himself wrote his name variously. In early 
portions of the Church Books of the First Protestant Church 
at New Braunfels he hyphenated it, "Cachand-Ervendberg," 
but this was soon changed to Louis Cachand Ervendberg, the 
name under which he went while he was pastor at Houston 
and in Colorado and Austin counties. Pastor Schuchard of 
New Braunfels, in completing the parish church-record for 
the Ervendberg family, wrote the name in full as "Christian 
Friedrich Ludwig Cachand Ervendberg." Captain Friedrich 
Wilhelm von Wrede, in his Lebensbilder (1844), spells 
Ervendberg's name "Ervensberg," and Pastor Gustav Eisen- 
lohr, in letters to his father in Germany, consistently spells it 


"Erwendberg." These are no doubt minutiae, but some 
scholar more fortunate than I may find them clues to the man's 
real name. I should add that directories of American cities 
having a large German population — metropolitan New York, 
Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Chicago, St. Louis— list no persons 
of the name Ervendberg. Moreover, the archives, of the 
library of the University of Berlin and, as stated above, the 
Central Bureau at Leipzig can give no help in the matter. On 
the whole, it seems justifiable to conclude that family tradition 
is correct in stating that "Ervendberg" is an assumed name. 

The question of where Ervendberg studied theology is 
equally difficult. The period was one of much strife among 
the sects of German Protestantism, dating back to the time 
of Luther's death, which had helped to increase the disaster 
wrought by the Thirty Years' War, and which was finally 
"healed" only by the interposition of the civil authorities in 
the period 1817-27. Ervendberg belonged to the Evangelical 
or Philippist group of German Protestants — the group that 
founded in 1820 the General Synod of the Evangelical Church 
of the United States. 

From a study of the traits of mind shown by Ervendberg, 
I suspect that he either studied theology at the Francke 
Foundation in Halle, or in some other way came deeply under 
the influence of the Francke tradition. He was essentially 
Pietistic, but showed also, as did Francke, a strongly humani- 
tarian tendency. As will be seen later, in his work at New 
Braunfels Ervendberg tried unsuccessfully to imitate several 
of Francke's institutions that came to such glorious fruition 
at Halle. But however it was obtained, Ervendberg's the- 
ological training seems to have been substantial, as was that 
of every German Protestant clergyman of that day — Her- 
mann Seele, who was in a position to know, speaks of Ervend- 
berg's "theological and philological training gained at German 
universities." This would imply mastery of the Greek New 


Testament and the Hebrew Old Testament, as well as the 
usual classical and scientific training of the German Gym- 
nasium. A thesis of some hundred and forty-six pages on 
"Die Erklarung des Evangelii Johannis nach dem Verbangen 
[?] des Presbyter Matthaus," written in the best exegetical 
style of the time, is in the Sophienburg Museum at New 
Braunf els : it is ascribed to Ervendberg, but I have my doubts. 
It is, of course, replete with parallel readings in Greek from 
the gospel of Matthew. Whether the document is an original 
study by Ervendberg, or a copied thesis in which he was 
interested (as I suspect), makes little difference, for in any 
case it evidences the interest and competence of the man in the 
substantial scholarship demanded of German clergymen of 
his day. 

One familiar with the thought of Ervendberg's time can 
easily visualize the scanty library the young minister probably 
collected. Besides the Bible, it would contain August Her- 
mann Francke's Segensvolle Fusstapfen, with an account of 
the famous orphan-house at Halle; Spener's two volumes of 
Theologische Bedenken; Johann Arndt's Seeks Biicher vom 
wahren Christ enthum, edited by G. A. Franck, and published 
at Halle in 1830; Count von Zinzendorf's Herrenhuts Gesang- 
buch; Schleiermacher's Der Christliche Glaube; von Mo- 
sheim's works on ecclesiastical and Christian history, some in 
Latin and some in German; Thomas von Kempen's Vier 
Bucher von der Nachfolge Christi; and Krummacher's and 
Hofacker's sermons. Of these books, Johann Arndt's Trite 
Christianity was doubtless Ervendberg's most constant and 
unfailing companion in the early days. 

Ervendberg seems to have come to America in the early 
part of 1837, or a short time before; for in that year we find 
him an Evangelical pastor among the Germans in northern 
Illinois. According to a somewhat garbled (and, it is to be 
feared, embellished) account of himself that Ervendberg gave 


Frederick Law Olmsted in 1854, he had landed in New York, 
and had come to the West by the common route of all immi- 
grants: up the Hudson River by steamboat, and then across 
New York State by way of the Erie Canal. It must have been 
a wonderful experience for the young German clergyman to 
view this new canal, more than three hundred and fifty miles 
long, with its eighty-four locks and its feeder canals entering 
the main channel at Troy, Utica, and other points along the 
route. The aqueducts carrying the canal across rivers, the 
turning-basins and docks — here was cause for admiration! 
The New York State canals were then in the heyday of their 
prosperity; in 1837 the combined Erie and Champlain Canals 
netted a round million dollars over all expenses. 

Ervendberg probably traveled by one of the "line boats," 
which made three miles an hour, and paid for his passage at 
the rate of a cent a mile, with the privilege of buying and 
cooking his food aboard the boat. Arriving at Buffalo, he 
no doubt took deck-passage on a lake steamer to Detroit, 
paying three dollars for the trip, and from Detroit traveled 
across Michigan to the raw town of Chicago at the foot of 
Lake Michigan. 

Chicago, of course, was still in its infancy. In the year 
before Ervendberg's arrival, the first schoolhouse had been 
built. In March of 1837, the town, then boasting some four 
thousand inhabitants, had been incorporated. The Illinois & 
Michigan Canal, designed to connect Lake Michigan with the 
Desplaines River, was under construction; the Rush Medical 
College had just been incorporated; and the continued pros- 
perity of Chicago seemed assured. In 1837, however, came 
the Panic, which for two years stopped all increase in the 
town's population, and caused a cessation of work on the 
Illinois & Michigan Canal. The price of flour went up to 
twenty-eight dollars a barrel ; the financial situation in Illinois 
became desperate, and was to grow worse after the passage of 


the Internal Improvement Act. By 1839 the debt of Illinois 
had mounted to fourteen million dollars, with an annual in- 
terest charge of $800,000. Repudiation of the debt followed 
— the beginning of an inglorious chapter in the history of 
state finance in the United States. 

Upon his arrival in Chicago in these distressed times, 
Ervendberg seems to have entered at once upon his pastoral 
functions. Working among the German settlers who were 
just then beginning their migration into the Middle West, he 
established Protestant Evangelical congregations in Chicago, 
in the German settlement of Teuto on Salt Creek in DuPage 
County, at East Prairie on the Desplaines River, and at 
Schwemm's Grove. Altogether, he seems to have had a total 
of fifty-six church members and 221 associates in his com- 
bined charges. But his aggregate income was fantastically 
small — probably not more than a hundred and fifty dollars a 

Among the younger members of his congregation at Teuto, 
Ervendberg found an attractive Hanoverian lass, fair-haired 
and blue-eyed, named Maria Sophie Dorothea Muench. She 
lived with her uncle. With him she had left her home at 
Landesburg, near Nienburg; upon their arrival in America in 
1836, they had settled in Chicago, but in 1837 had removed 
fifteen miles west to Teuto in order to escape the malarial 
marshes along the lake shore. On the tenth of September, 
1838, Ervendberg and Maria were married in Chicago by 
Ervendberg's friend, the Reverend John Blatchf ord, a Presby- 
terian minister. 

Although Ervendberg was in a sense isolated at his home 
parish on Salt Creek, still he had many pleasant associations. 
In the congregations he served were many compatriots of his 
wife, some of whom had even been close neighbors in the old 
home, so that life, in spite of financial stringencies, had its 
pleasant side. Their first-born, a son, came to the couple in 


Teuto in July of 1839. The child died on the twelfth of the 
following September, plunging the family into deep grief. 
Ervendberg, disconsolate and harassed by economic difficul- 
ties, began to consider migrating to the Republic of Texas, the 
goal of so many persons in the United States who had been 
ruined by the financial crash of 1837. 

It was not an easy thing to leave home and friends. Be- 
sides his parishioners in Cook and DuPage counties, Ervend- 
berg had many congenial acquaintances in Chicago. Three 
of his ministerial colleagues, in particular, were close friends. 
Dr. John Blatchford, fifteen years Ervendberg's senior, a 
graduate of Union College and Princeton Theological Semi- 
nary and pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Chicago, stood 
in the place of mentor and confidant, and of course the two 
men shared similar theological views. Another friend was 
the Methodist minister, the Reverend Peter Ruble Borein, of 
an age with Ervendberg — one of the most beloved pastors in 
Chicago. Most amiable as a man, and an eloquent preacher, 
he read his Hebrew Bible easily in a day when scholarship 
was rare on the raw frontier. The Methodist presiding elder, 
the Reverend John Clark, later to become prominent in the 
church in Texas, was a third member of the trio of colleagues 
whom Ervendberg found congenial. 

Many years later, Hermann Seele, in an extended obituary 
notice of Mrs. Ervendberg (published in the Neu-Braunfelser 
Zeitung on January 12, 1888), leaves the impression that a 
certain worldly love of ease and gain sent Ervendberg to 
Texas. This suggestion is far from the truth. Understand- 
ing of Ervendberg's decision to migrate must begin with a 
realization of his intense financial distress in Illinois. Church 
dues had dwindled to almost nothing, and prices of food and 
other necessities were soaring. Moreover, the prospect of an 
increasing family naturally turned Ervendberg's attention to 
the wider opportunities of Texas, which were an interesting 


topic of discussion among his friends. John Clark, for in- 
stance, was also planning to go to Texas, and did so a year 

In the autumn of 1839 the Ervendbergs, having laid away 
their first-born son in the German graveyard at Teuto, packed 
up the possessions of a humble and impecunious German pastor 
and took boat down the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, bound 
for New Orleans and Houston. When they arrived in 
Houston, probably in December of 1839, the settlement was 
but two years old. It had been "founded" in 1836, but had 
taken shape only in 1837, when it became capital of the new 
republic* In 1839 Houston was still a town of shanties, with 
a population of less than two thousand. The town served as 
a port of entry for immigrants, and here numerous Germans 
on their way to the interior stopped for counsel with their 
compatriots. Ervendberg, securing a small plot of ground 
just outside the town, engaged in market gardening while he 
looked about for an opportunity to resume his ministerial 
labors. It is quite possible that at this time he made the 
acquaintance of two other Naturalists of the Frontier, Lind- 
heimer and Fendler, who were also working as market garden- 
ers near Houston. 

These German gardeners were recognized as an asset in 
early Texas. The British consul William Kennedy wrote in 
1844 in a diplomatic dispatch to the Earl of Aberdeen : 

Among the European settlers, the Germans have the reputation 
of being the most successful. They are generally laborious, 
persevering, and eager to accumulate — orderly for the most 
part — and they keep well together. They have formed thriving 
Communities at different points of the interior, and they con- 
stitute a considerable proportion of the trading and working 
population of the towns adjacent to the Coast. In common 
with the French, they become Market-gardeners. And they 

* In 1839 the seat of the government was moved to the newly laid out 
town of Austin. 


divide with the Irish the profits of drayage and cartage, which 
are pretty large during the business season. 

Ervendberg lost no time in beginning work as a pastor ; on 
December 22, 1839, he preached to a congregation of German 
immigrants in Houston. Two weeks later, announcement was 
made in the newspaper of regular preaching at the home of a 
Mr. Thiel — possibly the Christian Thiel who later settled in 
New Braunfels. Thus began German preaching in Texas. 
For the better part of a year Ervendberg ministered to his 
congregation in Houston, which came to comprise "thirty 
members and fifty-eight souls." 

From all accounts, Houston in that day was a chaotic 
frontier community not noted for its piety. Yet many reli- 
gious denominations were attempting to get a foothold in 
Texas, and Houston was key to the interior. The Reverend 
William Y. Allen, a Presbyterian minister from Tennessee, 
had preached in Houston at the end of 1838, in the face of 
great discouragement; Abel Stevens, later a famous historian 
of Methodism, during the first six months of 1839 had held 
Methodist meetings in the capital, and was followed by Ed- 
ward Fontaine. In 1840 the Protestant Episcopal Church 
sent Dr. Leonidas Polk, Bishop of Louisiana, on a missionary 
tour of the country between the Brazos and the Colorado, 
and a parish was established in Houston with the Reverend 
Henry B. Goodwin as rector. But to judge from the experi- 
ence of Ervendberg's ministerial co-laborers in Houston, it 
was a thoroughly discouraging field. It is not surprising that 
after a scant year's sojourn at Houston, Ervendberg sought 
the higher, more healthful hill-country of Colorado County, 
where in the fertile valley of Cummins Creek an extensive 
German settlement, Blumenthal, had already been formed 
by the Yordts, Zimmerscheidts, Frelses, Biegels, Brodbecks, 
Ullrichs, and von Wredes. From fragmentary sources I sur- 
mise that the elder Yordt, a native of Holstein and a soldier 



in the Texas Revolution, had known Ervendberg in Germany, 
and may have been instrumental in bringing him to the settle- 
ment of Blumenthal. 

Ervendberg left Houston at the beginning of December, 
1840. His route was the familiar path of most immigrants 
to Texas — overland from Houston by way of San Felipe, 
Austin's former capital. Most travelers stopped in the beau- 
tiful little hamlet of Industry at the "hotel" kept by the Olden- 
burger Friedrich Ernst, who had come to Texas in 1831 — 
an "oasis," as Prince Solms once said, for the German 
traveler in Texas. 

From Industry Ervendberg proceeded about fifteen miles 


-4—1 — I— I — I 

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west to the German community of Blumenthal, or Cummins 
Creek, as it came to be called; and here, on December 10, 1840, 
he entered with zeal upon his ministerial work. Although a 
certain Reverend Fiebiger had previously established an in- 
dependent Evangelical Church at Frelsburg, not far away, 
he had died soon after the congregation was organized, 
and when Ervendberg arrived there was almost no formal 
ecclesiastical organization in the community. Soon, how- 
ever, in addition to his home congregation at Blumenthal, 
Ervendberg had formed small congregations at Industry and 
Cat Spring in Austin County, at Biegel and Lagrange in 
Fayette County, and at Columbus on the Colorado. Among 
his parishioners and acquaintances were the Amslers, 
Stoeltges, Von Roeders, Klebergs, and Dannkers, of Cat 
Spring; Henry Amthor and his neighbors on the western 
border of Austin County; and Friedrich Ernst and J. G. 
Sieper at Industry. Within a short time Josef Anton Fischer, 
a domineering Wurttemberger (some say Bavarian) with 
Swiss theological training, who was destined to play a turbu- 
lent part in the history of the German Protestant Evangelical 
Church in the United States, joined Ervendberg. Between 
the two, they seem, for short periods at least, to have con- 
ducted schools in the German settlements of Austin and Colo- 
rado counties. 

Fischer, six years older than Ervendberg, was of an over- 
bearing and contentious disposition, while Ervendberg was 
mild and gentle, with a broadly tolerant spirit. But the two 
men were somehow able to work together in establishing the 
first Synod of German Christian Churches in Texas, neither 
Reformed nor narrowly Lutheran, but founded upon the 
broad basis of the two confessions. When one remembers 
how prone German Protestants of that period were to break up 
into sects because of trivial metaphysical and dogmatic dif- 


ferences, Ervendberg's part in founding the united synod 
stands out as a signal achievement. 

Dr. Fischer seems to have left Texas some time in the early 
'forties (probably before September, 1842), for he did not 
sign the petition requesting a charter for Ervendberg's great 
hope, the Hermann's University in Texas, and in 1844 he 
helped to organize at Cincinnati the German United Evan- 
gelical Synod of North America. In 1842 he went to Chicago 
as pastor of the St. Paul's Congregation, Ervendberg's 
former mission congregation and the oldest Evangelical parish 
in the city. 

Ervendberg, on the other hand, was fully decided upon 
Texas as his permanent home. In May of 1842 he had bought 
a tract of thirty-five acres, part of Peter Pieper's headright 
league about ten miles north of Columbus on Pieper's Creek; 
and when Fischer's departure left him alone as religious and 
educational leader of the German settlements, he pushed 
resolutely forward with his cherished plan to found a German 
institution of learning in Central Texas. Realizing the real 
need among his people, and encouraged by the Education Acts 
passed by the Texan Congress in 1839 and 1840, in the latter 
part of 1842 Ervendberg circulated among his compatriots 
in Austin and Colorado counties a petition calling for the 
establishment of a university which should offer instruction 
in both German and English. The Congress of the Republic 
had appropriated four leagues of land for Rutersville College, 
founded in 1840, and Ervendberg was eager to secure similar 
aid from the Government for his projected school. As a 
result of his efforts, the Texan Congress passed an act chart- 
ering the Hermann's University, to be located near Industry 
or Blumenthal, with Ervendberg as president. Certain pro- 
visions of the act, written in by Ervendberg, are significant 
of the scope of his dream and the breadth of his tolerant 
spirit : 


Sec. 6. Be it further enacted, That the . . . President and 
Trustees shall establish the necessary preparatory schools, and 
shall have the right to establish four faculties, one Theological, 
one Judicial, one Medical, and one Philosophical . . . and they 
are hereby empowered to grant such degrees as are usually 
granted by similar institutions in the United States and Ger- 
many . . . 

Sec. 8. Be is further enacted, That no religious qualification, 
or test of any kind whatever, shall be requisite, in order to be- 
come a Trustee, Professor, Instructor or Student in said Uni- 
versity, and the Theological faculty shall never be styled by 
the name of any singular religious confession, but Protestant 
Faculty . . . 

The Congress of the Republic authorized the grant of a league 
of land to the new University, and provision was made for 
selling fifty-dollar "shares" in the University to "subscrib- 
ers." But as Tiling says in his History of the German 
Element in Texas, from 1820-1850 (1913) : 

. . . when the trustees tried to sell the "university shares," they 
met with insurmountable obstacles. The shares at the par value 
of $50 could only be sold for land in exchange; nobody paid 
in cash, money being too scarce. But it was ready cash that 
the trustees needed and not land, of which the university had 
plenty. The attempt to raise the necessary funds proved a 
failure, and in January, 1846, the franchise was annulled, but 
was renewed on April 11, 1846 ... To make the shares more 
attractive, the subscription price was reduced from $50 to $15. 
The trustees succeeded in obtaining enough money to build a 
large, two-story stone building [it was in actuality a frame 
building, which burned in 1935], but that was all. This build- 
ing was later used for the public school of Frelsburg, and thus 
fulfilled its mission in some way, even if it did not bear the 
proud name of "university." 

Perhaps the general conditions in Texas during the years 
1840 to 1844 may help to explain the failure of Ervendberg's 
projected University to materialize. Not one of the educa- 
tional enterprises started in Texas during those years pros- 
pered — Rutersville College, Wesleyan College at San Augus- 


tine, the University of San Augustine, all went under after a 
few years of precarious existence. Ervendberg had left 
troublous conditions in Illinois only to find fully as much dis- 
tress in Texas. The finances of the Republic were in a de- 
plorable state, and the f urloughed soldiers, out of employment, 
were dispirited and desperate. During the spring and summer 
of 1839 occurred the Cherokee War in Northeast Texas; in 
1840 there were Comanche troubles, beginning with the 
Council House Fight at San Antonio in February, and by no 
means ending with the Comanche capture of Victoria in early 
August and the sacking and burning of Linnville. During 
Mirabeau Lamar's presidency (1838-41), the national debt 
of Texas was trebled, and the Government's paper fell in value 
to twelve cents on the dollar. In June, 1841, the ill-fated 
Santa Fe Expedition set out from Austin, and later was cap- 
tured in New Mexico. Greatly exasperated, the Mexicans 
next year invaded Texas, capturing Goliad, Refugio, San 
Antonio and Victoria. San Antonio was again taken by 
Woll in September of 1842, at the same time that Dawson's 
Men were exterminated at the Salado. Indeed, the summer 
and autumn of 1842 was the gloomiest period Texas had 
known since the Runaway Scrape of 1836, and the year closed 
with the incredibly foolish and disastrous Mier Expedition. 
During the years 1842-44, the Regulator and Moderator 
feuds of East Texas made life and property unsafe in that 
region, and the Texan navy was engaged in all sorts of ill- 
advised escapades in the western part of the Gulf of Mexico. 
After the preposterous Snively Expedition to capture the 
Santa Fe trade in the spring and summer of 1843, both the 
Texas and American congresses began to consider more seri- 
ously than ever the annexation of Texas. 

During these years Ervendberg encountered many diffi- 
culties in his pastoral work. There was always fear of the 
Indians — Rutersville, for instance, suffered severely from 


Indian raids in the early 'i orties. The acute financial distress 
of the country resulted in the almost complete withdrawal of 
money from circulation, and probably Ervendberg did not 
receive a total of two hundred dollars during his four years at 
Blumenthal. Many of the German people among whom he 
traveled and to whom he preached were unconcerned and in- 
different in religious matters. Nevertheless, he was among 
friends, and gradually, by thrift and industry and self-denial, 
he was able to build up a small but well-arranged homestead 
at Blumenthal. It was not much that he possessed — he sold all 
his holdings for a hundred dollars when he left the locality — 
but perhaps no other German pastor in Texas could lay claim 
to success as great as Ervendberg's in his ministerial work. 
During this time, too, Ervendberg formed a friendship with 
the naturalist Ferdinand Lindheimer which, in spite of Lind- 
heimer's outspoken criticisms of clergymen and churches, 
was to endure through the years as a source of great' pleasure 
to both. 

In July of 1844, Prince Carl von Solms, first Commissioner 
General of the Adelsverein, came to Blumenthal in the course 
of his travels in Texas in the interests of the Verein's plans 
for colonization. I suspect that "Father" Ernst of the ham- 
let of Industry had sent him there. At any rate, from some 
of the German settlers at Industry and Cat Springs, Solms 
had heard of the earnest, popular, and effective young Evan- 
gelical pastor at Blumenthal. After interviewing Ervend- 
berg, Solms, upon whom rested the responsibility of making 
all arrangements for the prospective colony, invited him to 
serve as Protestant minister for the German immigrants 
who were expected in a few months. Ervendberg could 
hardly ignore such a call to larger work and greater respon- 
sibility ; with few misgivings, he gave up his work at Blumen- 
thal. It was hard to say good-bye to the old friends, and to 


leave the grave of a little daughter, Anna. But the die was 
cast; and late in 1844 Ervendberg and Lindheimer set out 
for Port Lavaca to meet the immigrants. 

The first settlers sent out by the Adelsverein reached Port 
Lavaca during the first week of December, and Lindheimer 
and Ervendberg were there to meet them. It had been planned 
that the march on to the interior, to the Fisher & Miller Grant 
owned by the Verein, should begin at once. But Henry 
Francis Fisher's failure to secure wagons and other means 
of transport greatly delayed the departure of the colonists, and 
at Christmas they were still waiting at Indianola. Prince von 
Solms, in his Sixth Report to the Administration of the 
Verein, says that Ervendberg held the first Protestant service 
for the group on December 23 ; "it induced a very earnest and 
tender feeling in the congregation, and many shed tears of 
heartfelt emotion." On Christmas Eve Solms provided a 
large oak tree decorated with many lights and hung with gifts 
for the children — a bit of thoughtf ulness that endeared him to 
parents and children alike ; and on Christmas Day Ervendberg 
officiated at Communion. 

On December 29 the last of the immigrants arrived at 
Indianola from Galveston. By January 5, 1845, Solms had 
established his camp at Chocolate Creek, twelve miles from 
Indianola, where Ervendberg again held divine service. Com- 
manded by wagonmaster George Ullrich, and guided by 
Nicholas Zink, engineer of the Verein, who had built roads in 
Greece during the War of Liberation, and by Jean J. von 
Coll, a former lieutenant in the service of the Duke of Nassau, 
the caravan slowly passed up the Guadalupe, delayed by rains 
and heavy roads. The immigrants reached New Braunfels 
on Good Friday, March 21, 1845, and entered into possession 
of the new colony. 

Mrs. Ervendberg was waiting for the caravan when it ar- 
rived at New Braunfels. She had been compelled to remain 


behind at Blumenthal with her young daughter Augusta (who 
is still living at Kyle at the age of ninety-four), awaiting the 
birth of a son, Ludwig Carl, on the eighth of January, 1845. 
When she was sufficiently recovered she had set out for New 
Braunfels with her daughter and the baby in a covered 
wagon, bringing the family cows and the meager household 
equipment, and had reached the east bank of the Guadalupe 
before Ervendberg arrived with the immigrants from Indi- 

The new settlers made camp on the high bank of Comal 
Creek near the intersection of present West Zink and North 
Castell streets. Here they waited while the town was laid out 
and the lots apportioned. Each head of a family was to re- 
ceive a half-acre town lot and a ten-acre farm. To the Prot- 
estant church were assigned two lots at the corner of present 
Seguin Avenue and West Coll Street, and the adjoining lot 
was given to Ervendberg as his own. The immigrants at 
once began to erect their cabins and houses, which were of the 
most miscellaneous construction. Ervendberg's house seems 
to have been the first erected. On October 5, 1845, the Ger- 
man Protestant congregation of New Braunfels was founded, 
with Mrs. Ervendberg as the first member. Presbyters were 
elected, and the building of a church was begun. Ferdinand 
von Roemer, the geologist sent out by the Verein, on his ar- 
rival at New Braunfels in February of 1846, speaks of the 
church as being completed except for the windows; it was 
finally dedicated on March 22. 

In his history of the German settlements Biesele describes 
the church services that were held in these early months of 
the colony : 

When the weather permitted, Rev. L. C. Ervendberg conducted 
services regularly every Sunday under a beautiful group of oak 
trees at the foot of the Vereinsberg [on West Coll street, near 
Castell]. A rustic table covered with a white cloth, on which 


was embroidered a black cross, served the combined purposes 
of an altar and a pulpit. The Society's officials sat on a long 
bench made of a thick board ; the rest of the people stood. 

Seele, in his obituary of Mrs. Ervendberg, tells how she 
decorated the altar under the trees with flowers, and how, 
when the weather was inclement, she cleared the little living 
room of the Ervendberg cottage so that divine service might 
be held there. 

At the end of August the Ervendbergs suffered the loss 
of the little son who had been born the previous January at 
Blumenthal. But they could not allow private sorrow to 
turn them aside from their many responsibilities to their 
people. The new settlers, unaccustomed to life on the fron- 
tier, needed advice about adjusting themselves to the primitive 
conditions and the strange climate. To the children and the 
sick of the colony, Mrs. Ervendberg furnished milk freely; 
for the many visitors she had always a friendly word of wel- 
come, and often a place at her table. A woman of unflagging 
industry, strong and capable, conscious of her duty as wife 
and mother and her position as leading woman of the parish, 
she won the cordial respect and friendship of the colonists. 

And then came the terrible second year of the settlement at 
New Braunfels — the fateful summer of 1846. At his own 
request, Prince Solms had been replaced as Commissioner 
General of the Verein by Baron von Meusebach in May of 
1845. Only through Meusebach's resourcefulness had the 
colony been kept solvent during the ensuing year. In Ger- 
many, agents of the Verein had created a great interest in 
Texas, and some thousands of persons had offered themselves 
as emigrants. But even though shiploads of colonists were 
coming out to Texas, the Commissioner was given almost no 
funds to provide for them on their arrival. He often found 
himself at his wit's end to make ends meet and keep up the 
credit of the Verein. Toward the end of 1845, the manage- 


ment of the Verein sent word to Meusebach that they were 
despatching 4304 immigrants to Texas, and that a credit of 
$24,000 was being established with the agents in New 
Orleans. But the debts of the colony already exceeded that 
amount. Moreover, when the second contingent of immi- 
grants landed at Indianola in the late winter of 1846, exces- 
sive rains had left the roads almost bottomless. As a climax 
to the colonists' difficulties, John F. Torrey, who had made 
an agreement with the Verein to move the colonists from 
Indianola to New Braunfels, broke his contract because all 
means of transportation were needed to carry supplies for the 
troops that were advancing toward the Rio Grande just be- 
fore the outbreak of the Mexican War. In his history of the 
first German Evangelical-Lutheran synod in Texas, Mgebroff 
summarizes the sufferings and difficulties that beset the 
colonists at Indianola: 

The little town at that time consisted of a single house. They 
built several barracks of lumber, in which as many as possible 
found shelter. The others lived in tents. Rain and northers 
penetrated boards and tents, and wet the occupants through and 
through. There was also a shortage of wood and water. But 
although there was a lack of drinking water, water stood in 
marshy pools all about them, breeding mosquitoes and malignant 
fevers. In the meantime, spring came, and with it the heat of 
a half -tropical climate. The long inaction of the people and 
the uncertainty of the future brought about a terrible demor- 
alization of the colonists. All conditions fostered climatic dis- 
eases. The mortality increased in terrifying fashion, but it be- 
came more difficult to leave the place. The war with Mexico had 
broken out, and all available agencies of transport were com- 
mandeered for forwarding food and materials of war to the 
soldiers. Besides, the unusually long-continued rains made the 
roads impassable. 

Then came the summer, and many families set out for 
New Braunfels. Their sole means of travel was by ox- 
wagons, and the trip was a matter of weeks. Dysentery and 


other diseases made fearful inroads. Along the road lay 
human bones, together with beds, tools, chests, and trunks. 
As Mgebroff continues : 

One found whole camps of Germans suffering from fever 
and half -dead, lying lamenting about a dead fire, with no fresh 
water for their parched tongues, while around them extended 
the comfortless prairie, glowing with the heat of the sun. 
Numerous graves marked the route. By day buzzards followed 
the wagons, and at night, rest was disturbed by the howl of the 
wolf and the shrill yell of the savage Comanche. 

One man set his sick wife out of his wagon, in order to get 
rid of the trouble of caring for her. Man and wagon went on 
their way; the wife was left to her misery, to which she 
ultimately succumbed, and then became the prey of the wild 
animals ! Soon the man fell ill ; his companions meted out in 
punishment the same inhumanity he had shown to his wife — he 
was put out of the wagon just as she was ! Misery loosed all 
bonds of decency, writes one authority on that terrible journey, 
and the prairie became the witness of crimes at which human 
feeling stands aghast, and which have soiled the German name 
in the strange land. 

Slowly the colonists advanced up the Guadalupe, so slowly that 
one witness of the journey called it a Leichenzng — a funeral 
procession. Benjamin published a vivid description of the 
trip in the seventh volume of German- American Annals 
(1909) ; and a score of narratives by survivors of the move- 
ment have been published — the most readily accessible, per- 
haps, being that contained in the D eutsch-Texanische Monats- 
hefte for 1902. But the most impressive account of all is 
that written by Hermann Seele, long a leading citizen of New 
Braunfels, who had come to the colony in May, 1845, had 
acquired a little farm on the west bank of the Guadalupe 
(where the International & Great Northern Railway crosses 
the river now), and was the school teacher of the town. 

On the fourteenth of July, 1846, Seele relates, he went with 
von Benner, one of the officers of the Verein, down to the 
landing-place of the ferry over the Guadalupe at the mouth of 


the Comal near New Braunfels. The immigrants who had 
made the terrible journey up from the coast had reached their 
destination, only to be forced by high water to wait across the 
river from the town. The few who had been able to get across 
the flooded river were in almost equal distress, for the officials 
of the Verein were without means to make adequate provision 
for them. It was unbearably hot along the river, relates Seele, 
and "a foul stinking vapor that oppressed our breathing arose 
from the low-lying Comal bottom, which had been overflowed, 
as well as from the river itself, still high and muddy." 

The opposite bank [he goes on], low and hemmed in by thick 
cypresses, sycamores, and other trees of the primeval forest, 
rose in terraces to the prairie, and was almost completely cov- 
ered with thick woods and bushes. In the neighborhood of 
the stream the ground was covered with mud and driftwood, 
among which herbs and vines grew luxuriantly. Farther up 
were the camps of the immigrants, who had been obliged to 
remain there several weeks because of the high water. Here 
and there a tent showed through the foliage, and between the 
trees shimmered protecting shelters fashioned of sheets and 
table-cloths. Everywhere lay chests and household utensils 
brought by the immigrants from the homeland, in the places 
where they had been unloaded . . . Washed clothing was hung 
to dry on bushes and grapevines. Fires burned, and in the 
shadow of the trees men, women, and children were walking, 
standing, or sitting . . . 

Seele crossed the flooded river on the ferry with von Benner. 
They were greeted by frantic pleas from a group of the new 
colonists for aid in dealing with an American teamster who 
was threatening to carry their belongings away with him un- 
less he was paid at once for his services. Seele followed Ben- 
ner up the sloping bank to the prairie beyond. There they 
found an appalling scene : 

An almost overloaded wagon, to which a constantly-cursing 
American had hitched his oxen in readiness to drive away, 
stood at the edge of the bushes. A number of gesticulating 


immigrants stood helplessly looking on, unable to utter a word 
of English. On a feather-bed near the wagon lay an old 
farmer in a high fever. Not far from him, under a bush, the 
body of a woman lay wrapped in a bedspread. She had died 
on the journey up from Seguin an hour before. Little children 
sat huddled close together on the ground and wept bitterly for 
the dear, dead mother, while their older sister attempted in 
vain to quiet them and to suppress her own sobs. 

The father, strong and well-knit in body, cast anxious and 
perplexed glances at his possessions and sought in vain to under- 
stand what Benner was saying in English to the wagoner. . . . 
Casting one last look on the sorrowing group of children, I 
stepped back into the forest, deeply moved, only to be shocked 
by another picture of misery and woe. At the foot of a tall 
sycamore tree I saw a man sitting, upon whose head (from 
which his hat had fallen) the sun, now beginning to sink in the 
west, cast its burning rays. I called to the sleeping man to put 
on his hat, since otherwise he might suffer a sunstroke. He 
did not hear me. In order to awaken him from his deep sleep, 
I stepped up to him and shook him, giving a loud halloo. When 
I lifted up his head, sunken upon his breast, his wide-open eyes 
gazed upon me, fixed and unearthly. I drew back terrified — 
he was dead. 

Benner arranged for the burial of the two corpses on the edge 
of the prairie. 

Their graves [continues Seele] were the markers for the last 
travel-station before the cemetery of the colony of New Braun- 
fels, soon to contain more than three hundred new graves. 
Every camp site from the coast at Indianola to New Braunfels 
— and there were many, since weather, roads, and the use of 
oxen to draw the wagons had made the trip last several weeks — 
was marked by such graves : horrible mileposts on the road 
which German colonization in West Texas had to travel. 

Returning to the river, Seele heard a cry, of anguish from 
within one of the tents, and went over to it. "We are all sick 
with dysentery and fever, yet no one brings us a drop of 
water," called a weak voice from within. Seele brought a 
bucket of muddy water from the river, which the unfortunates 
in the tent drank eagerly. 


That evening, as Seele sat looking at the river from the 
high bank on his farm, the children of an immigrant who was 
camping on Seele's land brought word that their father wished 
to see him. 

I went with the children [Seele relates]. The sick man joy- 
ously stretched his emaciated hand out to me ; his cheeks burned 
with a dull red; his eyes glittered with uncommon brightness. 
He wanted to let me know that he had no more pain — that he 
now felt better, and soon would be in a position to return with 
his wife and children to his beloved homeland. Full of hope 
and joy, the wife and children listened to the father's words. 
But, taught by recent dark experiences at the bed of death, 
I saw his end approaching. Concealing my thoughts, however, 
I spoke a few comforting words of sympathy. On arriving at 
my house, I said, "We must get up early in the morning and be 
ready to dig another grave." And when the sun rose next 
morning, the sick man had calmly gone to rest. We dug his 
grave in the field, laid him gently down, and prayed a silent 
Voter wiser for him and his family. 

Years passed away; the dead man rested in the grave with 
others whom we buried there. The green grass had long cov- 
ered it when the railroad came to New Braunfels. There the 
railroad workers came upon a few bones preserved in the sandy 
clay soil, and scraped them in again. Now the train rolls over 
the place in haste, with its snorting and stamping and puffing. 

If any man deserves the remembrance and gratitude of his 
people, that man is Louis C. Ervendberg. It is an injustice 
that when some years ago the citizens of New Braunfels 
placed a bronze tablet on the site of Hermann Seele's first 
school, they did not mention in the inscription the German 
pastor who on that same spot, at an earlier date, had held the 
first religious services in the colony. Moreover, Ervendberg 
had been instrumental in establishing Seele's school under the 
trees. Alas! that a man must be remembered for his worst 
moments: that Ervendberg's lapses from the mores of the 
tribe, rather than his years of devoted and sacrificial living, 
should have determined his place in the minds of his people. 


While the newly arrived colonists, smitten with disease, 
crowded the east bank of the Guadalupe, Ervendberg, with 
his wife and von Meusebach, manfully set about doing the 
things humanity called for. Unshaken by the moral disinte- 
gration about them, these three took matters into their own 
hands. For the sick who came to New Braunfels during that 
dreadful summer (the church records of that year show three 
hundred and four deaths within the parish), they erected a 
pavilion of cedar posts covered with branches and thatched 
with long grass. The orphans — some sixty in number — 
were gathered together and brought to a great tent near the 
church and Ervendberg's cottage, where the pastor and his 
wife sought to care for them. Soon a competent woman care- 
taker was secured for the orphans, and later a better, roomier 
home was erected. 

Slowly matters came to a better pass. The survivors among 
the new settlers took up homesteads and fell to work. From 
the terrible experience a new spirit arose in the colony, and 
German industry and German tenacity saved the day. Within 
two years the settlement at New Braunfels was on a firm 
basis, and other settlements were being laid out to the north 
and west. 

Ervendberg continued faithful to the responsibilities he had 
assumed in caring for the orphan children of the colony. In 
March of 1848, together with Hermann Spiess and Ludwig 
Bene, he secured from the legislature of Texas an act to in- 
corporate the Western Texas Orphan Asylum, to be located in 
Comal County. Ervendberg was president of the corporation. 
In the spring of 1849 an orphan's home (or, as it has been 
called for many years, the "Waisenhaiis") was completed on 
a tract of land which eventually came to include some two 
hundred acres on the west bank of the Guadalupe about three 
and a half miles from New Braunfels. Well in advance of 
the epidemic of cholera that ravaged the town about the 


middle of April, Ervendberg moved the orphans under his 
care, now numbering about twenty, to this location ; and here, 
with the faithful help of his wife, he continued to labor un- 
remittingly for the welfare of his, helpless charges. During 
his first two years at the Waisenfarm, Ervendberg continued 
to hold his pastorates at New Braunfels and at the church of 
near-by Comalstadt. His removal from the town, however, 
alienated a portion of the congregations, who felt that he was 
running away from the cholera in the face of his manifest 
duty — quite oblivious of the fact that the orphans' home had 
been incorporated the year previously, and the further fact 
that the Waisenhans had been built before the outbreak of 
the cholera. Those who criticized Ervendberg also overlooked 
the fact that the welfare of the orphans was necessarily a 
primary consideration, and that the plainest duty would have 
dictated their removal from New Braunfels. 

Nevertheless, Ervendberg later had occasion to regret 
deeply his departure from the town. Having lived through 
their sufferings, his people quickly forgot the great services 
he had performed for them. Too, Ervendberg's occasional 
absence from service when rain made the roads difficult or 
cold rendered any journey a hardship bred dissatisfaction in 
this flock. Many of the first settlers of New Braunfels who 
might have remembered Ervendberg's services had moved on 
to the new German settlements to the northwest. But the 
principal cause of Ervendberg's loss of his people's sympathy 
seems to have been a controversy over church-support. 

After 1847, the Verein ceased helping immigrants, and a 
short time later it withdrew support from a number of 
agencies in the colony that it had pledged itself to maintain. 
The church, the school, and the orphans' home were the first 
institutions which it ceased to support, although the orphans' 
home was provided for in the organic law of the Adelsverein. 
When the question of Ervendberg's salary arose in 1851, he 


asked for a stated allowance rather than a free-will offering; 
and when this proposal was rejected by the congregation, he 
resigned, feeling sure that by such a protest he would bring 
them to their senses. But as ill luck would have it, at the 
precise moment when Ervendberg's resignation was before 
the congregation, the brilliant young Reverend Gustav Eisen- 
lohr, a revolutionary refugee from Baden, offered himself for 
the place. Ervendberg, dismayed that a gesture he had in- 
tended as chastisement of an unruly congregation was about 
to result in his dismissal, attempted to withdraw his resigna- 
tion, and when that proved impossible, offered himself again 
as a candidate. But when it came to the election, the brilliant 
and romantic young minister from Baden (he seemed young, 
although there was a difference of but two years in their ages) 
received a decisive majority. Ervendberg, grieved almost be- 
yond endurance by this repudiation, retired to the farm at 
the Waisenhans, which he now named "New Wied." A good 
deal of light is thrown on the whole episode in a letter, natur- 
ally prejudiced, written shortly afterwards by Eisenlohr to 
his father, Pastor Jakob Friedrich Eisenlohr of Freiburg. 
Gustav Eisenlohr first suggests that Ervendberg had been 
somewhat grasping in his relations with the Adelsverein : 

. . . the Adelsverein [he writes] had promised to establish and 
support church and school, and had apportioned two town lots 
for the church and a third for the parsonage. Ervendberg, 
who seems always to have been on the lookout for his own 
welfare rather than the common good, saw to it that this third 
lot was apportioned to him as private property by the Verein, 
and put up a house on it at his own expense. I didn't care to 
live in it, anyway, because of its smallness and its lack of com- 

With regard to the vacancy in the church, Eisenlohr states 
that' in his opinion Ervendberg resigned "just for show," "to 
make [the congregation] feel how indispensable he was, in 
order to obtain a better living." In the election, however, "of 


ninety-eight votes, he received only twenty-seven and I seven- 
ty." Furthermore, although when he resigned Ervendberg 
had promised to take care of the church until a new pastor 
should be installed, "when the vote went against him, he never 
entered the door of the church again." "When I came here," 
continues Eisenlohr, "he sought to make the Comalstadt 
church independent of the New Braunf els church, in order to 
found a new parish there; but in this he was unsuccessful." 
And Eisenlohr accuses Ervendberg of other unwarranted 
actions : 

Also he delayed handing over the church-books until we got a 
court order. In the beginning [of my pastorate] he continued 
all sorts of spiritual functions, confirmed several of the orphan 
children, etc. Now, however, he has stopped it entirely, since 
he would like to enter the political field and since [in this state] 
no minister can be elected as a representative ... At first 
I visited him several times, but as I became aware of his in- 
trigues, I did not repeat my visits, and have now no personal 
relations with him . . . 

Against this interpretation of Ervendberg's character must 
be weighed the opinions formed by others who knew him, and 
who perhaps had less reason to emphasize Ervendberg's faults. 
There is no reason, for instance, to think that Ferdinand von 
Roemer's remarks concerning Ervendberg, whom he knew in 
New Braunf els in 1846, are inaccurate. Roemer wrote: 

It filled me with a downright respect for the man to see how 
he set an example to his flock through his industry in all matters 
and through his cheerful endurance of the privations and diffi- 
culties that are inseparable from a first settlement in the wilder- 
ness; and especially how he also, in that tragic time, when 
virulent climatic diseases decimated the population, exercised 
himself without ceasing to give comfort and support, in true 
understanding of his calling. 

And Frederick Law Olmsted, who made a journey on horse- 
back through Texas in 1854, left a similarly glowing account 
of Ervendberg and his labors. 


It was characteristic of Ervendberg that even in his great 
bitterness over the election of Eisenlohr he retained buoyant 
hopes for the future. His was a sunny, sociable nature, 
radiating friendliness and earnestness of purpose, which al- 
most nothing could permanently crush. He saw that he was 
repudiated by his people as a spiritual leader: very well, he 
would work for them as a teacher, as an educational leader. 
Lindheimer, his good friend and botanical mentor, was estab- 
lishing the N eu-Braunfelser Zeitung, and other cultural 
movements were beginning to be in evidence. What though 
Hermann's University had come to naught ? Here in German 
Texas he would establish a school like the one Francke had 
established at Halle : he would add a training school to teach 
scientific agriculture. Father Ernst over at Industry had 
taught him how to raise tobacco and make cigars: he would 
raise tobacco here, and he would teach the boys of the Waisen- 
haus the trade of cigar-makers. Ottomar von Behr was ex- 
perimenting with the improvement of wool at Sisterdale; he 
would help von Behr. In the 'thirties and 'forties Ernst had 
filled Austin County with fruit trees and other valuable plants 
brought from elsewhere: Ervendberg could introduce new 
plants and trees also. The German farmers wanted wheat 
bread, yet varieties of wheat that thrived well in Ohio and 
Illinois did poorly in this climate — well, he would experiment 
with wheat from semi-arid countries where conditions of 
climate and soil were like those of Texas. He would write to 
Asa Gray for seeds of plants having pharmaceutical value: 
his Texas German compatriots should learn to raise these. 
On the Waisenfarm Ervendberg set out experimental beds of 
economic plants, selected the produce from these varieties, 
and looked forward to the final breeding of sorts adapted to 
the soils and climate of Texas. In February of 1850 he had 
Lindheimer write to Asa Gray for silkworm eggs, so that he 
might experiment with these; and he mastered the technique 



of raising silk (Texas State Gazette, July 20, 1850). Plans, 
plans, plans ! Meanwhile, Ervendberg had embarked on an- 
other venture in higher education. In 1850 he had secured the 
passage of an act by the legislature of Texas incorporating 
the Western Texas University, and reading in part as follows : 

Section 1. Be it enacted by the legislature of the State of 
Texas, That the Directors of the Western Texas Orphan Asy- 
lum shall be, and they are hereby authorized to establish, in 
addition to said Asylum, an Agricultural School and such other 
institutions of learning, in any branch of the arts and sciences, 
as they may deem proper; and they shall have power in their 
corporate capacity, to control and govern the same, in the same 
manner and to the same extent, as they are now permitted to 
control and govern said institution. 

Section 2. Be it further enacted, That said directors shall have 
power upon the establishment of any such institution, to appoint 
a President and such other officers as may be necessary for 
conducting such institution ; to appoint such Professors as they 
may deem proper, and regulate and prescribe their duties ; and 
in conjunction with the faculty, and professors of such institu- 
tion, may grant and confer such degrees, in arts and sciences, 
as are usually granted by Colleges and Universities. 
Section 3. Be it further enacted, That no religious qualification, 
or test whatever, shall be necessary to become a Professor or 
student of any institution established by said Directors; nor 
shall any student be excluded from the benefits of the same, 
in consequence of his religious faith . . . 

It is a noteworthy document, both in the catholic conception 
of education it exhibits and in the breadth of spirit shown by 
the prohibition of religious qualifications or tests. In this 
respect, the character of what came to be known as the "West 
Texas University" is similar to the charter of the old Her- 
mann's University, and both reflect accurately the spirit of 
Ervendberg himself. His broad tolerance, both on this occa- 
sion and in his earlier work in founding the united synod, is 
the more remarkable in view of his theological training and 


his service as a pastor in an age notable for doctrinal con- 

His interest in the welfare of the community continued un- 
abated. In May, 1852, he was a leading force in the organiza- 
tion of the Land- und Gartenbau Verein of Comal County, and 
became its first president. He was very proud of this dis- 
tinction, and mentions it in one of his letters to Gray. In 
August, 1853, Ervendberg was instrumental in the organiza- 
tion of a social and political club at New Braunfels, and was 
elected its first president also — a club, by the way, which under 
the name of Der Gesellige Verein continues as an important 
institution in New Braunfels to this day. A similar club at 
Sisterdale, Der Freie Verein, was headed by those two grand 
old scholars, Dr. Ernst Kapp and August Siemering. This 
indicates the esteem in which Ervendberg was held by an in- 
fluential portion of his fellow-townsmen, even after he left 
the pastorate. 

Nor did Ervendberg show himself lacking in civic courage. 
Many of the Germans in the United States were outspoken in 
their aversion to slavery during the 'fifties ; the question was 
of course coming more and more to the front as a national 
issue. In 1854 it was proposed to hold a national convention 
of German-Americans in Saint Louis to discuss the question 
of slavery; and Ervendberg was made one of a committee of 
three members to raise the funds necessary to send delegates 
to the convention from the New Braunfels region. 

In this same year, as has been noted above, Frederick Law 
Olmsted, the landscape architect, who later was to plan 
Central Park in New York City and the grounds of the Co- 
lumbian Exposition in Chicago, came through Texas and 
visited the Wax sen farm. 

In his A Journey Through Texas, Olmsted has left the 
following account of his visit : 


The Orphan Asylum, as we approached it, had the appearance 
of being a small American farm-house, with a German rear 
erection of brick laid up in a timber frame-work. A large 
live-oak sheltered the stoop, but the whole establishment was 
very rough, with a common rail fence about it, and not the least 
indication of fashionable philanthropy. As we entered a large, 
dark, unpainted hall, a man came forward from an inner room, 
who, from his dress, might have been taken for a day-laborer. 
It was the gentleman [Ervendberg], however, whom we wished 
to see — a courteous and cultivated professor. 

It was a holiday, and he had been engaged in preparing some 
botanical specimens, but immediately left them to ferry us over 
the Guadalupe, which ran through his grounds [so that Olmsted 
might call on Otto Friedrich, of whom he was in search] . . . 

Leaving the house, we passed through a garden in the rear, 
where he showed us little plots of wheat from Egypt, Algiers, 
Arabia, and St. Helena, which he was growing to ascertain 
which was the best adapted to the climate. Wheat-growing of 
any sort, is a novelty here, but the Germans are not satisfied 
with corn, nor are they willing to pay for the transportation of 
flour from Ohio, like the Anglo-Americans. There has been, 
therefore, considerable wheat grown among them, and that 
with satisfactory success. 

Ervendberg then showed Olmstead his open-air theater among 
the trees, which in the summer was used for informal concerts 
and even for classes or lectures. Failing to find Friedrich, 
Olmsted passed "a delightful day" with Ervendberg, who re- 
lated to the traveler a highly interesting if not entirely reliable 
account of his life : 

He had come to this country in 1839. In the steerage of his 
ship there were about forty Norwegians with their families. 
They suffered much hardship, and he assisted and comforted 
them as much as was in his power. They were very grateful, 
and before reaching New York they unanimously requested him 
to continue with them as their pastor, and assist them in form- 
ing their settlement at the West. While the ship was detained 
at Quarantine, he went to the city with the captain to make 
arrangements for their necessary stay in the city. Returning to 
Staten Island, he found the ship had gone up, and the ferry-boat 
had discontinued running for the night. It was not until late 


the next day that he succeeded in finding the ship at her wharf 
in New York, and then all the Norwegians had departed. 

As Ervendberg learned later, he said, the Norwegians had 
fallen into the hands of unscrupulous persons who had pre- 
tended to sell them land in Wisconsin — the deeds turning out 
to be forgeries. Ervendberg, according to his own account, 
went on to Wisconsin, and thence 

he had come to Texas, and joining the first company of the 
settlers who had established Neu-Braunfels, became their pastor. 
The following year several thousand [immigrants] were landed 
upon the coast ; and, unprovided with food or shelter, perished 
like sheep. Slowly, droves of them found their way into Neu- 
Braunfels, haggard and almost dying, having lost all family 
affection or fellow-feeling in intense despairing personal suffer- 
ing. Many children came whose parents had died, and he found 
them starving upon the river bank. He could not bear the 
sight, but collected sixty of them, and went to work upon this 
farm with them. He had no means of his own, but took what 
he could find belonging to the children, and has since sustained 
them. Working with his wife and children in the field he has 
managed to raise corn and keep them alive, until now, in better 
times, they are mostly distributed as helps in various homes. 
Eighteen are with him still, all calling him papa. He had 
obtained from the Legislature an incorporation for a Univer- 
sity at Braunfels, and himself, as yet, sole Professor, had given 
a classical education to a few pay scholars. 

The whole narrative [continued Olmsted] was exceedingly 
interesting, as we heard it at our simple farm-house dinner — 
the Professor, with his horny hands, and with his much-patched 
coat, telling us of his own noble conduct in the simplest man- 
ner, but sometimes glowing and flushing with a superb home 

After this beautiful and touching story, so full of truth in 
many of its details, I regret to say that the most careful in- 
vestigation, in which I have had the unstinted aid of many 
students of early Norwegian immigration into the United 
States, has yielded no jot of confirmation for the early part 


of Ervendberg's tale. Why must human nature succumb to 
the temptation to dramatize itself ? 

On the other hand, there can be no question as to the gra- 
cious task that Ervendberg and his wife steadfastly per- 
formed at the Waisenfarm. According to Ervendberg's 
daughter, he was always gentle and soft-spoken to the chil- 
dren under his charge, and they all seem to have been devoted 
to him. Hermann Seele has left among his writings an attrac- 
tive picture of the normal, happy life at the farm, based on a 
visit to the establishment on New Year's Eve of 1849. As 
Seele approached the comfortable building amid its grove of 
live-oaks, he relates, the orphan boys raced out to open the 
gate for him, while the girls waited smiling on the porch — all 
of them very pleasant-looking in their neat clothing and their 
new Christmas caps. Ervendberg and his wife received the 
visitor cordially and took him at once to the schoolroom in a 
wing of the house, where stood 

a table covered with a snowy cloth, with Christmas presents 
for each of the children. On the right, the Christmas tree — a 
beautiful young cedar. In the little garden around it, several 
. . . stones . . . represented the mountain upon which . . . 
the shepherds of Bethlehem pastured their flocks. On one of 
these pieces of rock stood the hut that sheltered the Christ- 
child slumbering in his manger. Across the room, between the 
windows, shone from the bookshelves the latest volumes of 
Smithsonian publications, and over the blackboards hung silk- 
worm cocoons strung upon threads, whitish, reddish, and 
nankeen-colored. These, with the insect collection over the table 
and the stuffed and mounted birds, gave the walls an interesting 
decoration ... 

After a good supper prepared by the girls, whom' Mrs. Er- 
vendberg was training to be meticulous German housewives, 
the party returned to the schoolroom for coffee, and the men 
smoked cigars — good cigars, according to Seele — made at the 
farm from tobacco raised on the place. 


There was much to tell about the making of the Christmas 
presents, and how everything had been kept secret. For eight 
weeks the girls had all sewed on the clothes for the boys, and 
knitted socks, and still they had to work up to the last night. 
"And just think, on the very night before Christmas, Minna 
[Koether] sat with Caroline [Schuessler] in her room; and 
Franzeska [Langer] and Lisette [Schmidt] in hers, and cro- 
cheted and sewed presents for each other without knowing that 
they were theirs." . . . 

Then, in the children's room, the quilts were viewed, all filled 
and stuffed by the girls with cotton raised on the farm. Oh, 
the quilting days! How beautiful they had been! Everyone 
whose quilt was ready for quilting had had to play hostess on 
one day to the others who helped ; and each had tried to surpass 
the others in baking. How happily they jested, and laughed and 
sang in innocent, joyous, youthful pleasure! 

After a walk about the grounds, everyone had tea by the fire- 
side, "and many a merry game was played with the children, 
and many a happy song was sung, and many a verbal nut was 
cracked along with the pecans." Truly a pleasant picture! 
Ervendberg was very fond of children, and one is justified in 
regarding Seele's description of life at the Waisenfarm as 
accurate. . . . 

I have not been able to determine the exact date when Er- 
vendberg began to correspond with Asa Gray; probably it 
was after 1851, when he resigned his pastorate and became 
more deeply interested in scientific farming because of his 
work at New Wied. The earliest extant letter from Ervend- 
berg to Gray, indicating the German's reawakening interest 
in botany, dates from the autumn of 1854, after Olmsted's 
visit. The ineptness of his quaint English is somewhat sur- 
prising in a man who had been living in America for seventeen 

New Wied, Texas — Comal Co 
October the 8th, 1854. 
Dear Sir, 

Having received your favor of the 10th Aug. I send You 


herein some Styrax platani folium. This plant was here at my 
doors nearly, at first discovered by me; Mr. Lindheimer had 
not seen [sic] it before, I could not know if it was new or not, 
and am now very glad to have the name of it, at the same place 
grows an Ephedra, if the species is known or not, I could also 
not ascertain, as Lindheimer, had also not seen it. I make me 
the pleasure to send You within a Register of all the plants, 
which I collected on the territory of New Wied, three miles 
and y 2 above New Braunfels on the Guadalupe, the flora is so 
rich and new to me here, that I look up my former beloved 
studium of botany, but being not acquainted with the American 
flora and without books and means here in finibus litterarum, 
I find many difficulties to get through, and I am therefore very 
happy that You will do me the favor to help me, where I can 
not further. I began this year to collect the Gramineae 
[grasses], can I send them? to name these is certain [sic] not 
possible without a good Instrument [magnifying glass]. 
Plants by me collected I will be very happy to send You any 
time You desire. 

Some plants within send [sent], please give me the names 
from according to number. I am 


very truly 

L. C. Ervendberg. 

The register of plants accompanying the letter is still pre- 
served in the archives of the Gray Herbarium at Cambridge. 

Ervendberg's next letter was written in reply to a courteous 
note from Gray asking if he could help Ervendberg with books 
and papers, and naming the plants. 

New Wied . . . November the 8th 1854 
Many years already I tried to become [obtain] different seeds 
for making the experiment to introduce them here, but I never 
could get them. But being to[o] much interested to introduce 
among my industrious german neighbors these plants first as 
president of the "Western Texas University" and also as a 
member of the Land and Gartenbau-Verein of Comal County, 
I have the liberty to address You for the seeds : It is : Rheum 
Emadi Wall. (Australe Don.) or other species [of rhubarb], 
and Cassia senna and marylandica, and if possible Thea viridis 
[tea] . In the case that You should not find these seeds in Your 


Botanical Garden, I am friendly for the address of some place, 
where they can be had. Every time happy to do You any service 
I am able to do . . . 

This letter crossed another one of Gray's, sent under date of 
November 7, 1854, to which Ervendberg replied as follows: 

New Wied Dec 10th 1854 
. . . My best thanks for your letter of November the 7th. 
Books I only have Plantae Wrightianae pars I et II and will 
be glad to receive from You what You can send me, the best 
way I think will be by Mail. 

I send again some plants wherefrom I wish You would give 
me the names. No. 11 of the last I could not make out. No. 
18 Eupatorium serotinum as You give me the name I send 
again under No. 47, and thereto what I until now took for 
Eupatorium serotinum under No. 40. What is the right name 
of both plants? Of Desmanthus reticulatus I possess only one 
specimen. I will collect it for You next year and send it. A 
letter from me, wherein I did ask for a little seed, if possible, 
of Rheum Emadi, and Cassia sennae or Marylandica I hope 
You have received and will be happy for a successful an- 
swer . . . 

Gray answered this letter, probably during the Christmas 
holidays, and Ervendberg pursued his quest for seed yet 
further : 

New Wied . . . January the 8th 1855 
... In your letter wherein You had the favour to write that 
the seeds I did ask for are not to be had in this country, You 
ask: what other kinds of Rheum do you want? or what other 
species of Rheum are wanted? Is Rheum palmatum, unduala- 
tum [sic] or any other to be had ? please send me a few seeds ! 
Do You know any place in the States; where Cassia Sen. or 
Maryl. is raised? Is there any seed of medical plants to be had, 
which might be raised here with profit ? . . . 

Ervendberg, of course, hoped to introduce among the German 
settlers of New Braunfels the cultivation of such simple 
pharmaceutical herbs as Turkey rhubarb, quassia, Virginia 
snake root, gentian, chamomile, boneset, dandelion, and so on. 


But little seems to have come of his efforts in this direction. 
The pot-herbs of European kitchen gardens, in fact, seem to 
be singularly absent from the sites of early German settle- 
ments in Texas. 

Other things, also, were not going as well as they should at 
the Waisenhaus. Of course the routine of life, simple, con- 
tented, happy, went on in its wonted course; but the West 
Texas University, from which Ervendberg had hoped so 
much — that was quite another matter ! All during the spring 
of 1853 he had made especial efforts to increase the number 
of pay-pupils from the outside by inserting an advertisement 
(in German) in the Nen-Braimfelser Zeitung: 

West Texas University, New Wied, Comal Co., Texas. Pupils 
are taken at any time for the three divisions of this educational 
institution: (1) Elementary School; (2) Latin School; (3) 
High School [Oberschide]. Further information will be given 
by L. C. Ervendberg, President of the University. 

But this and other efforts to attract students met with small 
success. It was not a question of Ervendberg's lacking the 
personal respect of his townsmen, as I have pointed out above. 
During that spring he had been appointed a member of the 
Democratic Assembly of Comal County, along with Doctors 
Koester and Remer, Ottomar von Behr, and six other leading 
citizens ; and in April, in' spite of the fact that he lived outside 
the town, he had been chosen by the town council as a member 
of the board which was charged with organizing a public 
school. Ervendberg took his place as a member of the board on 
May 9, 1853; and a set of regulations for the conduct of the 
school which he drew up was subsequently adopted by a unani- 
mous vote. 

This was a real distinction — but an ironic one; for the 
establishment of the free public school at New Braunfels 
marked the end of Ervendberg's hopes for the success of his 
school at the Waisenfarm. It was only natural that he should 


now pause to cast up his accounts and go over the events of 
his life. He was not an old man — only forty-five — but the 
last ten years had taken heavy toll of his youth. And now the 
venture which he had entered upon with so much enthusiasm 
when he left the pastorate was likewise at an end. It was hard 
to face the future. 

Ervendberg was a man who was supported in time of ad- 
versity by the consciousness of his leadership, the sense of his 
importance among his fellows. It was natural for him to 
think of himself as the pastor of his flock. With his congre- 
gation about him, looking to him, feeling with him, he was 
unconquerable. And he derived much strength from his 
awareness of the continuity of religious tradition. The songs 
they sang in church — grand old hymns of the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries: ah! here was nothing trivial or eva- 
nescent, but, as he thought, a taking hold upon the very hem of 
eternal truth. These earnest, humble people about him on the 
Texas frontier, far from the thousand-year-old culture of 
their homeland, forgot their separation from home and kin- 
dred in Martin Luther's grand old battle hymn "Ein* feste 
Burg ist unser Gott/' in Count Zinzendorf 's "Jesu geh voran 
auf der Lebensbahn/' or in Gerhardt's "Ich singe Dir mit 
Hers und Mund" and "O Haupt voll Bint und Wunden." In 
days of festival and rejoicing, there had been the noble "Nun 
danket alle Gott" and "Lobe den Herrn den machtigen Konig 
der Ehre" ; while in days of sorrow and bereavement, "Jesus 
meine Zuversicht" had brought comfort and surcease of grief. 
But now, that was all past. No longer was Ervendberg the 
pastor of his flock; his flock had repudiated him. New men 
were coming in who knew not Joseph; his educational hopes 
and plans, long cherished — it was almost fifteen years since 
he had first planned to found the Hermann's University — 
were falling into dust. Moreover, he was getting old; that 
could not be escaped. 


He had tried to do many things, and he had failed. Uni- 
versity, pastorate, agricultural school, all of them had fallen 
through. Why? He began to search out sources of failure 
in his past : furtively, secretly. As he probed within himself, 
he must have grown somewhat desperate in his eagerness to 
lay fresh hold upon a life that seemed slipping from his grasp. 
And before the busy world realized it, before his own close 
neighbors dreamed of any domestic conflict, Ervendberg's 
name was coupled in shame with that of one of his orphan 
girls, and he was a fugitive from Texas. 

Such an uproar resulted as can arise only in formally reli- 
gious small towns, where one can know every external act of 
one's neighbors without in the least comprehending the under- 
lying motives. As a result, the name of Ervendberg has ever 
since been conspicuous for its absence in accounts of the 
heroes of German colonization in Southwest Texas. From 
the vantage point of the present, however, one can realize that 
the responsibility for Ervendberg's irregular conduct was not 
entirely his. The society in which husband and wife had 
been reared had failed to prepare them for the most important 
work of life ; it had taught them much of everything but the 
fundamental realities of marriage. And through the years, 
buried but unf orgotten resentments had accumulated between 
them which came to the fore in the face of other distresses. 

It is easy to recount the bare facts of Ervendberg's de- 
parture. During the summer of 1855, Mrs. Ervendberg be- 
came aware of her husband's increasing interest in one of the 
orphan girls entrusted to his care, whom he had seen growing 
into young womanhood. She was the daughter of a Bavarian 
artist who had died at sea on the way to America with the first 
immigration, which reached Texas in December of 1844. She 
had been confirmed in 1850 by Ervendberg. Now, at seven- 
teen, she was the innocent cause of the downfall of her pastor, 
protector, and teacher. 


Mrs. Ervendberg confronted her husband with what she 
had discovered; he acknowledged the facts. Together they 
planned for better days. They would go back to Chicago, 
where her people lived; they would leave Texas, where all 
their great hopes and plans had come to naught. They planned 
to depart for the North in September. Mrs. Ervendberg was 
to take the three daughters with her, and Ervendberg, after 
winding up the business affairs of the Waisenhans, would 
come on later with the two boys. In this understanding, she 
departed. Ervendberg, with his sons, stood on the west bank 
of the Guadalupe at New Braunfels watching the wagon pass 
through the ford and up the opposite bank. He waved his 
hand in farewell as long as the wagon was in sight. 

On the first of October, 1855, he left New Braunfels with 
the two boys — and the orphan girl. When we next hear of 
him, he is in Mexico City, having come there by way of Gal- 
veston, perhaps New Orleans, and Vera Cruz. Later he went 
to a new German settlement north of Vera Cruz called 
"Wartenberg," not far from Pastoria on the Rio Calabozo. 
He lived at Wartenberg for some time (at least from the be- 
ginning of 1857 to the end of 1860) collecting plants for Asa 
Gray, as we shall see later. He subsequently returned to 
Mexico City, and then removed finally to Pachuca, northeast 
of the capital, where he established a sort of experiment station 
on a small scale, like that at New Wied. Here on a night in 
February, 1863, when all the servants and laborers had gone to 
celebrate a Saint's Day at a neighboring village, several bandits 
forced their way into the house, shot Ervendberg down in cold 
blood, and made good their escape with a considerable sum of 
money that was in the house against the next day, which was 
pay day. 

There remains but to describe Ervendberg's botanical ex- 
plorations in Mexico. The materials on which such an ac- 


count must be based are unfortunately somewhat meager. In 
tracing the steps of other naturalist-explorers who worked 
in the Southwest I have been impressed with the remarkably 
abundant traces left by most of them in the public records, in 
the newspapers, and in the specimens they sent to scientific 
institutions. In some instances it is possible to reconstruct a 
naturalist's itinerary in considerable detail by studying dated 
locality-labels on museum specimens. But concerning Er- 
vendberg's extensive travels in Mexico, we have only six 
letters he wrote to Gray. Even the colony Wartenberg seems 
to have left no trace in the memory of living man. One can 
learn its location from a map Ervendberg sent to Asa Gray, 
but that is all. The German Ambassador to Mexico, after a 
most careful search generously undertaken at my request, 
found no trace of the colony; and a charmingly obliging 
eighty-five-year-old German botanist of the State of Vera 
Cruz, Dr. C. A. Purpus, was unable to find out anything at 
all concerning Ervendberg's work in Mexico. Ervendberg 
undoubtedly spent the last eight years of his life in that coun- 
try, but he left no enduring memory there. 

Ervendberg's letters to Gray are thus of considerable bio- 
graphical importance ; and to me they are of great interest as 
showing a tendency, occasionally exhibited by Gray, to leave 
his collectors in the lurch. In the Gray Herbarium, for in- 
stance, is an early letter of Augustus Fendler to Gray, in 
which he chides him for neglecting to send the most necessary 
and indispensable helps for collecting — a reproof so telling 
that Gray was not again guilty of such neglect toward Fendler. 
As is apparent in the Ervendberg letters, to the very end Gray 
was remiss in rewarding Ervendberg's labors, although there 
is no indication that he was dissatisfied with the collector's 

The first letter is dated at Mexico City, March 4, 1856. 
After describing his journey up from Vera Cruz, with much 


botanical detail about the country he has passed through, 
Ervendberg touches upon general conditions in the capital : 

. . . The people seems to be good harted but bigott; sciences 
are more than hundred years back. They have a Museum here, 
where You see birds, all pele mele, no order in it nothing named 
and without catalogue. I collected some plants but I could not 
do much on account of the revolution ; but however the col- 
lection of plants is all the time difficult on account of robbers 
and thiefs in the country it is necessary to take all the time 
some man along for a safeguarde and therefore not to be 
done without great expenses. Here was one man collecting for 
English botanists for a yearly salary of thousand dollars, but 
under the condition not to give one plant away. This man died, 
I could perhaps get this engagement, when I applied for it, but 
I do not like to be bound under such condition, I wish to collect 
for America, where is my home. If You find someway, that 
I could collect Plants, Coleoptera etc. for American Institutions 
or societies, I am willing to do it. South of the valley are two 
snow mountains, there must be a great variety of plants I[t] 
would be interesting for You to have these Epidendrons, 
Bromeliaceae, filices arborese (I saw one 15' long 4" diameter) 
etc. in Your botanical Garden, I could deliver them all as living 
plants. If You favor me with an answer, please send Your 
correspondence through the hands of the American Legislation 
[Legation], General Gadsden, the only sure way, where I am 
acquainted with . . . 

Apparently Gray did not reply to this letter. Ten months later 
Ervendberg addressed Gray from Wartenberg, again offering 
to make botanical collections for him. 

I made now another journey to the tierra caliente [wrote the 
collector] and live at present about 30 leguas N. W. from 
Tuxpan in a very beautiful contry, full of new plants of all 
classes. I made also here already great collections and would 
like to send them to your disposition, wherefor I request [ ?] 
your answer. They are to be send by way of Tampico. I will 
S[t]ay here for some years, and it appears that my botanical 
harvest will be very great . . . 

In a reply dated March 4, 1857, which Ervendberg received at 
the end of August, Gray told him to go ahead and collect 


plants, and promised to sell ten or twelve sets of any specimens 
he collected. Gray also advised Ervendberg to collect mosses 
for Dr. Sullivant, the bryologist, of Cincinnati — these latter 
to be shipped in care of Gray. He promised to send plenty of 
botanical drying paper. An answer which Ervendberg wrote 
on September 2 from Wartenberg apparently never reached 
Gray; and on January 10, 1858, Ervendberg repeated his 
previous letter, which described his journey from Mexico City 
to Wartenberg. Passing through a rugged and mountainous 
country with much interesting vegetation, some of it resem- 
bling the flora of Texas, Ervendberg had descended some four 
thousand feet to the bed of the Rio Calabozo, where he found 
scattered Indian settlements. Crossing and recrossing the 
river continually in his passage through the canyon, the natur- 
alist had lost his horse with his saddlebags containing all his 
money and papers, and barely escaped with his life. The 
colony of Wartenberg stood on a beautiful plateau, perhaps 
three thousand feet above sea level, that opened out beyond the 

Many plants which I saw in Texas I have seen also here 
[Ervendberg continued] ... I collected already a good deal 
but for want of paper and money I am bound to stop very soon. 

The people here are Indians without culture like brutes but 
Christians by name ; few families of better education, the land 
owners, and some Indians which live in little villages and speak 
Spanish call themselves hombres de razon (man of reason). 
Agriculture is in the deepest state of infancy, a kind of great 
knife (matcheta) is the only tool to cut trees, to build houses 
(which they make very good from bambus covered with palma 
without any kind of nail only binding them with a kind of 
liane). So [they] make fence and [illegible] their fruits. 
Mais, frijol, beans; a little sugar tobacco and cotton; they live 
on tortillas, cakes made from the mais prepared on a stone for 
a mill, beans and Chille (Capsicum) They are all lazy and 

On account of my losses in the Canada I am somewhat in 
a bad position, having rented a tract of land for making my 


living and being without [a] horse, etc: You could do me 
therefore a great favour if possible to send me $150. in advance 
on account of plants; You find perhaps a friend, if You are 
not able who can borrow it. It would be only to buy a horse 
and to procure the necessary boxes from Tuxpan or Tampico 
for to pack up the plants ; here is no foot of a board to make 
a box, all that makes much expenses and I would hardly be 
able to send on plants without that favour . . . You might 
send me paper as much as possible by Boston with a schooner 
or by New Orleans from where every time run schooners. 

After repeating the contents of his earlier letter, Ervendberg 
adds fresh pleas for help from Gray : 

I have been hunting all around for News papers, but this 
people, and that is in these little towns, Tantoyuca, Chicontepec, 
Huantla, read no papers no[t] one dozen was found. I have 
all full of plants. Do me the favour for to send paper, paper, 
paper as soon as possible by Tampico, no way by Vera Cruz 
where from I could not get it here. Send me that money. I 
have already thousands of plants or all will be lost here, what 
would be a great damage . . . 

There was no answer to this repeated letter and no paper was 
sent, although Gray had promised some months before to send 
Ervendberg an ample supply of paper. After nine months, 
Ervendberg ventured again to address Gray regarding the 
promised supplies : 

Wartenberg . . . October 14, 1858 
Your letter [of March 4, 1857] wherein you give me orders 
for sending plants I had received, and send since that time two 
letters particularly for paper for drying plants, in it, but I never 
received an answer and no paper and nothing. For the difficulty 
to get paper and boxes I could send no plant [s] until now. 
This paper I get very dear from New Orleans. I have more 
plants, but not more boxes ; and I am collecting but with diffi- 
culty and trouble with that little paper I have in hand. 

The plants I send, 226 of all kinds, on[e] package with 
fern[s] and one package with mos[s]es for Dr. Sullivan [t], 
are mostly 12 of every species and certainly of all species one 
specimen for You. Some could not be well pressed for want 


of paper but I have made it as good as the circumstances will 

Fruits I had collected a good many also, but for a long time, 
they were lying about, many are destroyed by insects, and only 
the few left I send this time. What You do want of seeds and 
fruits, You may write me, and I will collect. Should any one 
wish the different kinds of pieces of the ligna [woods], I am 
willing to collect. 

. . . You will consider about the payment, that the diffi- 
culties are greater, than any where else and that I not could 
get very far on account of the revolutions which where [sic] 
around me. 

All plants are collected in the neighborhood of the German 
colony Wartenberg and I will go further of [f] when I possess 
means to hold a man to go with me and to buy a horse. 

The plants which are safed from my journey from Mexico 
[City] until here are in my hands, I could not pack up from 
want of means, and will be send as soon as I can get up a 
box . . . 

But Gray did not answer this letter either, although he re- 
ceived the box to which Ervendberg refers, in February of 
1859. Five months later, Ervendberg, still refusing to feel 
rebuffed, asks Gray again for the help promised him two years 
before : 

Wartenberg . . . March the 11th 1859 
... In the month of October of last year I did send to you 
a large box with plants, but having received no answer until 
now, I would ask with this, if the one [was] lost and never 
received by You. Two letters I send before that were not 
answered but I thought, that by reason of the revolutions here 
they came not in Your hands; but as the box makes a great 
volumen I can not declare her lost. I did send box with on[e] 
Mr. Herman Schultz of Tampico, who will also receive your 
answer. Said box contained, [sic] 

19 species of fern 

226 species of other plants and a collection 
of mos[s]es of this neighborhood. 
Of all species where I could send them I send 13 specimens, 
as You had the friendship to write me that You could [sell] 
ten — twelve. For want of a box or boxes all seeds I had were 


destroyed by insects and I could therefore send only few, but 
I am collecting them now for the next time. 

I had to pack up that box very much in [dark?] therefor [e] 
I forgot to remember that the mos[s]es as all were collected 
on the mesa of this colony Wartenberg between November 
[1857] and February [1858]. At present I am requesting 
your friendly answer and if possible some paper, as all things 
are very high here, I had to pay for that paper, (and other 
better paper is not here) $7.50 without fr[e]ight. I would 
like to explore more this part of the country but You [must] 
consider that the difficulties are very great, no road, no taverns ; 
all the time camping and in middle of a revolutionary people; 
hardly is to be found a little plank for pressing the plants. 
All the plants and ferns which I collected from Mexico [City] 
until here are ready to be send to You as soon as I received 
your answer and also another large collection made here. I am 
now more acquainted with all things here and would go further 
of [f] from this part of the country as soon as I receive some 
money from You, so that I can have a man go out with me. 
You might send the best [drying paper] to a person in New 
Orleans who must give it to the schooner who runs weekly 
between New Orleans and Tampico. To get things here by 
way of Vera Cruz is very difficult. 

In response to this letter, as in response to his earlier ones, 
Ervendberg received, to adapt a phrase of his, 'no answer 
and no paper and nothing.' But in spite of Gray's silence 
Ervendberg prepared and sent still another box of plants, and 
the following letter : 

Colony Wartenberg . . . April 12, 1860 
. . . With this letter I send You the second box with plants 
from No. 227-385, a packet with mosses for Mr. Sullivan [t] 
some Fern and seeds : Also You find within some specimens of 
Agave Americana? where from they make nearly in the whole 
Republic of Mexico a vegetable beer, named Pulque and some 
of a plant of the genus Bromelia, named here Pita and I think 
botanical [illegible] for your botanical garden; the last grows 
in this neighborhood in the thickest woods on very remote 
places; I was not able until now to see not the flower and not 
the fruit. It contains, shaving of [f] the epidermis a fibre fine 
as Linum and as strong as cannabis, here they use the thread 


of it' to all kinds of sewing works by shoemakers, saddlers etc., 
some of the Germans commence to cultivate it. I send a little 
with the plant, it grows 4-6 foot. 

This is my sixt[h] letter I write without having received 
any anszver. My first box I send of [f] in the month of Octo- 
ber 1858 and have answer of the merchant, that said first box 
arrived in good order on the 5th January [Jan. 29] 1859 at 
New York. I am very anxious to hear of You, if the said 
first box arrived in Cambridge or not and if in good order or 
not. Fr[e]ight I paid from here to Tampico with $5, and for 
this second box with $2.50. Letters from here to Tampico 
must be paid with 25 Cents, but further they do not take pay- 
ment. Paper is very high and not good, therefor [e] I ask 
Your goodness as You wrote and promised in your first letter 
to send me some papers. I had with my family a great part of 
the time we are here very bad fevers on account of the hot 
clima, therefore I think to go a little higher up in a more cold 
and healthy part for my northern constitution, but all things 
are dear here on account of the revolutions and the want of 
industry in the land. Therefore I am very short in means and 
would ask your favour to send me as soon as possible some 
money, when [if] my plants arrived, when not, to give anyhow 
some answer, that I can hunt for the box, if not arrived. I 
had a great deal more of Cacti collected and seeds, and I think 
I have now more than three hundred species here, but having 
no answer from You, I could not send them of [f] and a great 
part are spoiled by insects. This box I send for having a good 
opportunity through a friend, who goes direct from Wartenberg 
to the U. St. You might consider here, that to make collections 
here in this tropical clima is very difficult ; at first to find good 
specimens for insects and birds, the most fruits are eaten before 
ripe; and now from October until June it is nearly impossible 
to go on 5 steps from the house, by brushing a single bush 
thousands of ixodes [ticks] kreep on You, that a person can 
hardly live for pain; not counting snakes and aunts [sic]. 
Some plants are eaten, when drying in the paper, so I had for 
some of the ferns (there are 5 species here) more than twenty 
specimens of every one species drying, but I could not save one 
for ants. I think they must be send in alcohol. . . . 

Please send me Your answer etc. and money and paper. 

This letter Gray has endorsed, "Ansd June 26th." I do not 
know the details of his answer, but it evidently set a price on 


the plants sent in the first box, and terminated any arrange- 
ment existing between him and Ervendberg. On October 
24th, 1860, Ervendberg made a sight draft on Professor Gray 
for ninety dollars — somewhat meager pay for several years' 
work. The draft was duly paid. 

In the Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and 
Sciences (Volume v, 1862) Professor Gray prefaces a 
twenty-five-page account of Ervendberg's collection (which 
contained nine new species and three new varieties of higher 
plants) with the following introduction : 

This collection, being made by a person of limited botanical 
knowledge, contains a number of plants which are common 
weeds in most warm regions, but also a fair number of new 
or little-known species, — enough to show that this district of 
country, in which Mr. Ervendberg resides, would well reward 
a proper botanical exploration, which it is the object of this 
notice to encourage him to undertake. This Mr. Ervendberg 
is fully disposed to do, if the possessors of herbaria could be 
sufficiently interested in this regard, by subscribing for his 
collections at the usual rates, to defray the necessary expenses. 
Supplied with proper appliances and facilities, Mr. Ervendberg 
would make a good, as he is a zealous collector . . . 

Surely no enemy could have more effectively damned Ervend- 
berg with faint praise than Gray did in this notice. Thus did 
the great botanist assist in the advancement of science in the 
ancient Mexican province of Huasteca. 

I have alluded elsewhere to the danger the pioneer naturalist 
ran of being overcome by the intellectual mediocrity of the 
frontier, and of being forced to give up scientific pursuits by 
.the stern necessity of making a living in an uncivilized en- 
vironment. Ervendberg's career in Mexico clearly illustrates 
these difficulties — as well as some others. 

Ervendberg cannot in any sense be said to have had ade- 
quate fundamental training for scientific exploration. Rather 


was he of a type, common enough among graduates of German 
Gymnasia and universities, who had received more or less 
formal instruction, with field-excursions, in "natural science" ; 
and then, coming to a newly settled country rich in strange and 
impressive productions of nature, he had been reawakened to 
the beauty of the physical universe. Berlandier, Lindheimer, 
Fendler, Wright, had all had excellent instruction in botany, 
or had seriously cultivated botanical interests over a term of 
years, before they set up as collectors. Moreover, these men 
all found in their scientific work those social and spiritual 
values that most people find in human relations. They were 
adapted to the collector's mode of life, isolated from human- 
kind for months at a time. Ervendberg, on the other hand, 
could not devote himself intensively to scientific work. He 
was interested primarily in the application of science to the 
betterment of human conditions. He gained most of his satis- 
factions through his social contacts, as pastor, as director 
of the orphans' home, as leading member of various organiza- 
tions, as would-be educator. To the extent that he tried to 
fill the role of botanical collector in the New Braunf els region, 
in a territory already classically explored by Lindheimer, he 
was miscast. And he always retained a certain didactic and 
pastoral quality of mind — at least until he went to Mexico. 

I think it probable that if he had received from Professor 
Gray even the minimum of advice and counsel that simple 
humanity would seem to have dictated, he would have devel- 
oped into a good and useful collector. To me the fiasco of 
Ervendberg's career in Mexico rests not on his shoulders, but 
squarely upon those of Gray. No one who reads Ervendberg's 
letters to Gray can fail to be deeply touched by the pathos, 
even the tragedy of his situation as it is revealed in them. 

In the end, despite the cloud that rests upon his name, the 
life of Ervendberg is to me one of rare attractiveness, because 
he was so human. Capable of unremitting labor and self- 


sacrifice, full of tenderness for his people and quick to respond 
to their needs and their sufferings, he still was unable to avoid 
the most egregious blunders in handling his own affairs. He 
deserves credit and honor, not for the clearness of his head, 
but for the greatness of his heart; not for what he accom- 
plished and saw to fruition, but for what he dreamed. 

»> »> >» »> > » » ) ») »> >x<- « fr <« ■ «< ■ <«■ <«■ «<■ <«■ <«■ 


IT was the year of Waterloo. The Arch-Egotist had gone 
down to final defeat. At Vienna the Powers were sitting, 
Metternich in their midst, to effect the political reconstruction 
of Europe. In Prussia, King Frederick William III was 
promising a liberal constitution for that loyal people which 
to a man had risen in the Befreiungskrieg against Napoleon. 
In the university town of Jena was being created the Bur- 
schenschaft system, dedicated to the spiritual emancipation of 
German youth through the noble ideal of the Turnverein. 
Led by "Turnvater Jahn," the movement took on an earnest, 
almost religious character. It was spreading to all German 
universities of whatever land — to Strassburg in France and 
Dorpat in Russia; to Leyden in Holland and Vienna in 
Austria, and to Kiel in Denmark. A new Germany for the 
Germans, bound together by the German tongue ! How that 
Bur schenschaft manifesto rings across the years! Even 
though the Bur schenschaft movement was crushed, at least 
temporarily, after the student protests at the Wartburg Fes- 
tival in 1817 and the murder of the supposedly reactionary 
Kotzebue two years later, says Poultney Bigelow, "ever after- 
wards German universities felt so strongly its past influence 
that never again did undergraduate life revive the licentious- 
ness and brutality which was but too common under the old 

It was this stirring time, when the liberals of Germany 
were struggling violently against reactionary Austria and 



Russia of the Holy Alliance, that shaped the personality of 
Ferdinand Jakob Lindheimer, who was to become a pioneer 
Texan botanist and naturalist. During his school years, the 
German universities and gymnasia had become, according to 
the Cambridge Modem History, 

the center of political agitation; professorial chairs were turned 
into platforms, lectures into harangues, and classes into public 
meetings. . . . The intellectual atmosphere of Germany was 
indeed charged with electricity; but it was the repressive con- 
duct of Governments which gave a political direction to the 

In 1827 the B urs cherts chaft, which "gave nightmares to 
Metternich," was revived at Erlangen and spread to other 
universities, among them Jena and Heidelberg; and in May 
of 1832 Siebenpfeiffer delivered his violently democratic 
speech before the tens of thousands of students gathered at 
Hambach. Then followed repressive measures in the Diet at 
Frankfort, in July of 1832, and as a consequence the Frank- 
fort Riot of April 3, 1833. 

The words of Turnvater Jahn may stand as the slogan of 
all young Germany of the time : "The German people cry out, 
'We want no longer to be merely Bavarians and Saxons, no 
longer merely Prussians, but Germans above all!' Hence 
comes the general cry for a constitution, which the inner 
freedom of the great German people, in spite of conflicting 
voices of the governments, manifestly authenticates !" 

It was with phrases such as these ringing in his ears that 
Lindheimer grew to manhood. He had been born at Frank- 
fort-on-the-Main on May 21, 1801, the youngest son of 
Johann Hartmann Lindheimer, a well-connected merchant in 
affluent circumstances. Deprived of his father in early life, 
Ferdinand Lindheimer was given a good education by his 
mother, probably in the Gymnasium at Frankfort. He was 


thoroughly schooled in mathematics and the classical lan- 
guages. His lifelong love for mathematics is evidenced by 
his fondness for teaching higher mathematics, without charge, 
to pupils in the town of New Braunfels in his old age; his 
classical tastes and abilities are everywhere manifest in his 
writings. From Lindheimer's youth, the glorious past of 
Greece and Rome lived again for him so vividly that when 
he entered the university of Bonn on November 7, 1825, he 
matriculated as a student of classical philology. After an 
abbreviated career in the university (he left Bonn at the 
Easter holidays, 1827, without a degree), Lindheimer took 
a position as teacher in the preparatory school of Georg 
Bunsen at Frankfort. Although his formal education was 
largely in the field of classical philology, Lindheimer had 
gained in his German schools an ardent interest in botany. 
He had also made the acquaintance of George Engelmann, a 
fellow Frankfurter destined to play a great part in the devel- 
opment of American botany. 

The Bunsen School seems at this time to have been itself 
a hotbed of political discussion — to such an extent that it was 
under constant surveillance by the police. Lindheimer en- 
tered upon his work at the School in the autumn of 1827: in 
the seven years that elapsed between 1826 and the spring of 
1833, when the Government closed the School after the 
Frankfort Riot of April 3, six of its teachers had been sen- 
tenced for sedition. 

Lindheimer, it seems, took no active part in the Frankfort 
Riot; in later years he told his son Eugene that he had not 
been a participant. Nevertheless, he was seriously com- 
promised by his long association with Georg Bunsen and his 
School, and probably also by active participation in the student 
discussions which had brought about the revival of the 
Burschenschaften in the German universities in 1827, the 
year he left Bonn. 


Lindheimer's political activities seem to have evoked severe 
reproof and condemnation from other members of his family. 
As a result he cut himself completely off from them, rejecting 
all financial aid and apparently even refusing to accept his 
share in the partition of his mother's estate. Lindheimer's 
son Eugene, in an unpublished letter, alludes to these family 
difficulties, and adds that Lindheimer spoke very little of his 
early life unless specifically questioned. 

Whatever may have been the immediate cause of Lind- 
heimer's break with his family, he showed himself throughout 
his life bitterly hostile to compromise of any sort. There can 
be no doubt in the mind of one conversant with the facts that 
Lindheimer's intense devotion to the cause of universal human 
liberty, as well as his implacable hatred of organized and dog- 
matic religion (a hatred that, like a fixed idea, colors all his 
writings), was a violent emotional reaction brought about by 
the parental repression and severely formal religious atmos- 
phere of his early life. How much his dependent position in 
the family as a younger son and his early loss of his father 
may also have contributed to his attitude, one can only guess. 

In the face of family disapproval and official suspicion at 
home, what course remained for Lindheimer but to escape to 
that political haven, America? Governmental reaction and 
oppression in Germany at that time were encouraging a large- 
scale exodus to America of political refugees, who were dot- 
ting the Mississippi Valley with German "Latin Farmer com- 
munities" such as those at Belleville, Illinois; in Warren 
County, Missouri; and at other places in Ohio and Indiana. 
Here congregated former Gymnasium and university men, 
frequently of great ability — emigres who had left the home- 
land solely because every movement for a constitutional gov- 
ernment in Germany was being thwarted by the arbitrary and 
incompetent autocrats who were in power. Lindheimer di- 
rected his steps to Belleville, drawn by the presence there of 


his old colleagues in Frankfort, Bunsen and Berchtelmann. 
When he reached Belleville in the early months of 1834, he 
found in the community not only his Frankfort friends, but 
such other eminent Germans as the great Bavarian jurist, 
Dr. Theodore E. Hilgard, with his three sons, all of whom 
were destined to attain eminence in the field of science ; Gustav 
Korner, later Lieutenant-Governor of Illinois; Dr. George 
Engelmann, the botanist, and his brothers Theodor and Adolf ; 
and a number of other persons of only slightly less eminence. 
Bruncken must have had in mind such a settlement as Belle- 
ville when he wrote in his German Political Refugees: 

These Latin Settlements have played a part in bringing about 
a higher standard of civilization in the states of the Mississippi 
Valley, which will be appreciated at its true worth when the 
history of the cultural development of that section comes to be 
written. . . . The Latin settlements were centers of light, from 
which higher ideals of life than were customary among the 
ordinary settlers spread among wide portions of the country. 
Especially in educational matters, these men set the standard, 
not only for their German countrymen, but for their American 

But in spite of the congenial company Lindheimer found at 
Belleville, he remained there only a few months. In late 
September of 1834 he set out with five companions by boat 
down the Mississippi to New Orleans, on a proposed journey 
to Mexico by way of Texas. When they arrived at New 
Orleans, however, Lindheimer's party heard reports of Indian 
depredations in Texas (false reports, as it turned out) ; and 
there were no guide-books to Texas, or even maps, to be had 
in the bookstores of the city. Discouraged, three of the 
travelers turned back to the North. Lindheimer and his two 
remaining companions, after several weeks of indecision and 
waiting in New Orleans, set sail in a Yankee schooner for 
Vera Cruz. The account of Lindheimer's voyage and his ad- 
ventures in Mexico, although it is highly interesting, must 


here be omitted. Suffice it to say that he remained in Mexico 
for sixteen months, in the upland region near Jalapa, west of 
Vera Cruz, and at the German colony of Sartorius and Stein 
in Mirador, where at different times he managed a distillery 
on the plantation of Sartorius & Lavater and served as over- 
seer of a banana and pineapple plantation. It is significant 
that while he was in Mexico, Lindheimer joined with Otto 
Friedrich in making extensive collections of insects and 
plants. From his first activity as a collector his talents for 
the work were evident. The minute and extended descriptions 
of the plant and animal life of Mexico published many years 
later in Lindheimer's Avifsatze und Abhandlitngen show 
remarkable native powers of observation and analysis, which 
were developed by practice and experience to a high degree 
of acuteness. 

The botanist's decision to come to Texas in 1836 sprang 
from mingled motives. His son Eugene ascribes Lindheimer's 
departure from Mexico to the anarchy and unsettled condi- 
tions which he found there. Lindheimer himself states in his 
Aafsatze that he decided to go to Texas to fight for Texan 
independence because of his hatred of all political oppression, 
and anyone who knows the man will feel this was undoubtedly 
an important consideration. But let us allow Lindheimer to 
tell his own story. Lie is writing of conditions in Mexico 
during the last months of 1835 : 

Often one could see very clearly, from articles in the papers, that 
an important party in Mexico had the greatest sympathy for 
the Texans. ... In the Diario del Gobiemo, side by side with 
bombastic articles describing "how the invincible Mexican army 
with the holy picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe would cross 
the Rio Grande to chastise and put to flight the heretics who 
had been taken up like snakes into their bosoms," appeared 
other articles which clearly had been written by friends of the 
Texas uprising. . . . The Mexican newspapers often fawn- 
ingly called Santa Anna "the Napoleon of the West" and (in 


a fashion that seemed ironic if indeed it was not due to the 
stupidity of the editorial writer) drew parallels between the 
"glorious northern expedition" [that was to be made into 
Texas] and the Russian expedition of Napoleon. I recognized 
this was the moment to carry out my original plan of going to 
Texas, before the decisive battle — perhaps even before Santa 
Anna's army had met the Texans. . . . My decision to go to 
Texas was already made. 

Lindheimer reached Texas in roundabout fashion by way 
of Mobile, joining a company of volunteers commanded by 
Captain Robertson who were going to fight for Texan free- 
dom. "My company was composed mostly of Irishmen/' 
Lindheimer told his son many years later. "With other troops 
we were stationed in Galveston Island as a kind of coast de- 
fense in case Mexico should undertake to land troops at that 
point. Before the battle of San Jacinto we had orders from 
General Houston to join his army as soon as possible. 
Houston, however, gave battle to the Mexican army sooner 
than he had expected, and for that reason we reached Hous- 
ton's command one day after the battle of San Jacinto/' 

Little is known of Lindheimer's life during the three years 
following the battle of San Jacinto. This was the period 
when Audubon, accompanied by his son, made his visit to 
Galveston and Houston, and called upon General Sam Hous- 
ton at the capital; when Charles Wright, the young school- 
master and surveyor from Connecticut, was beginning the 
work in Texas that was to link his name inseparably with 
Texan botany. After the war for freedom, Lindheimer seems 
to have been completely submerged in the flux of incoming 
settlers. His compatriots and contemporaries have left no 
record of him. There were many German settlers in Texas 
before the Adelsverein immigration in the , years following 
1844, particularly in the Baron de Bastrop's and Austin's 
colonies, and Lindheimer may well have lost himself among 


these. But there is no scrap of evidence concerning his activi- 

During this period Lindheimer no doubt was collecting 
plants and corresponding on things botanical with his intimate 
friend Engelmann, who was in St. Louis. But the first 
definite information we have concerning him after the war is 
found in specimens collected for Engelmann at San Felipe in 
March of 1839, as Lindheimer was on his way to New Orleans 
and St. Louis. From this time on, the record is ample. 

Lindheimer spent the winter of 1839-40 in St. Louis with 
Engelmann. Upon his return to Texas in 1840, he took up 
truck farming on some land near Houston, and followed this 
occupation for more than two years. But the work; was com- 
pletely unsuited to him, and in 1842 he wrote Engelmann to 
ask whether he might not make his lifelong interest in botany 
a source of livelihood. Engelmann wrote to Professor Asa 
Gray of Harvard College, asking him to suggest a way in 
which Lindheimer might at the same time feed soul and pocket. 
Engelmann called to Gray's attention the beautiful collection 
that Lindheimer had sent him, and pointed out that the Texan 
flora appeared to represent a transition from that of Mexico 
to that of the United States. He also reminded Gray of the 
collections Drummond had made ten years before for Hooker, 
with their hundreds of new species of plants found in Texas. 
This touched a tender spot in Gray, who was already burning 
to be the first botanist of America. The correspondence re- 
sulted in an arrangement among Engelmann, Gray, and Lind- 
heimer, whereby the latter was to make extensive collections 
of Texan plants in sets ; these were to be named and mounted 
by the botanists, and new species described by them ; and the 
sets were to be sold for the benefit of the collector at the rate 
of eight dollars per hundred plants. Fortified with this ar- 
rangement, Lindheimer, who had gone back to St. Louis in 
the autumn of 1842 to carry on negotiations, left for Texas 


early in March of 1843. He was never to venture north 
again, having discovered in himself a constitutional weakness 
of the lungs that made northern winters inadvisable 1 for him. 

Lindheimer's travels through Texas to investigate the 
botanical treasures of the region are of absorbing interest to 
botanist and layman alike. After leaving Engelmann in St. 
Louis, he arrived in Galveston by the end of March ; the her- 
barium of the Missouri Botanical Garden has specimens of 
dried plants labeled by Lindheimer at Galveston during that 
month. Ferdinand von Roemer, who became a close friend of 
Lindheimer's during Roemer's stay in New Braunfels three 
years later, has left a vivid account of how the naturalist made 
his collections : 

He bought a two-wheeled covered cart with a horse, loaded 
it with a pack of pressing-paper and a supply of the most in- 
dispensable provisions, namely, flour, coffee, and salt, and then 
set forth into the wilderness, armed with his rifle and with no 
other companion than his two hunting dogs, while he occupied 
himself with collecting and pressing plants. He depended for 
his subsistence mainly upon his hunting, often passing whole 
months at a time without seeing a human being. 

Until the first of June, 1843, Lindheimer was occupied in 
making extensive collections around Houston. Early in that 
month he left Houston for the Brazos bottom in present 
Waller and Austin counties, and collected in the bottoms 
during the major part of June and July. In early August 
Lindheimer crossed the Brazos, and for a few days collected 
west of the river, probably near the present towns of Sealy 
and Bellville. After returning to Houston in the middle of 
August, at the end of the month he made a collecting trip to 
Chocolate Bayou, fifty miles to the south, and collected there 
in late September and early October. He returned to Houston 
by way of Galveston : his return was slow, for we find plant 
records reading "Galveston Island, Oct., Nov., 1843" on his 
herbarium labels. 



In 1844 Lindheimer spent the whole season west of San 
Felipe, between the Brazos and the Colorado. He left San 
Felipe in February, and probably did not go beyond the con- 
fines of present Austin and Colorado counties. During this 
trip Lindheimer lived for a time with Robert and Rosa 
Kleberg at Cat Spring in Austin County. "On his little 
Mexican cart he would sally forth on excursions into the wilds 
of the Brazos bottom, returning with a wealth of new and 
strange forms of plants and animals,'' says Rosa Kleberg in 
her reminiscences of early days in Texas. "He was a fine 
gentleman and a splendid scholar." Lindheimer's collections 



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also show that he spent three months of this season at In- 
dustry, in Austin County, but do not give any evidence of his 
having collected in the Colorado bottoms, as Engelmann and 
Gray state in one of their papers. Perhaps the data on which 
the statement was based were contained in the collections of 
Lindheimer, mentioned by Engelmann, which were lost in 
transmission to St. Louis during this year. 

The reader will recall that at Industry and the near-by com- 
munity of Cat Spring Lindheimer had struck up a friendship 
with Louis Ervendberg, whom Prince Solms had invited to 
become pastor for the Adelsverein colony. It is probable 
that Lindheimer and Ervendberg went together to Port Lavaca 
in December of 1844 to meet the first group of immigrants. 
In any event, they were both at the port when the colonists 
arrived, and accompanied the party on the slow journey up 
the Guadalupe to the site that had been selected for the town 
of New Braunfels. Lindheimer's collections on this trip show 
specimens from Matagorda Bay and the Guadalupe bottom 
in Victoria County. When New Braunfels was laid out, 
Lindheimer secured rights as a colonist, built himself a house, 
and during the year gathered plants in the locality. He also 
explored the wild, mountainous region to the northwest, a 
country still occupied by Indians. 

Lindheimer's way of life at this period is vividly described 
by Ferdinand von Roemer, who met him in New Braunfels 
early in 1846. 

At the end of the town [wrote Roemer in his Texas] and 
at some distance from the last houses, right upon the bank of 
the Comal River, stood a hut or small house partly concealed 
by a group of elms and oaks. With its enclosed garden and 
its arrangement and position, it furnished an idyllic picture. 
As I neared this simple and homely dwelling for the first time 
I espied before the door of the hut a man busily engaged in 
splitting wood. Apparently he was accustomed to this labor. 
A thick black beard covered his entire face; he might have 


been in his early forties. He wore a blue jacket open in front, 
yellow buckskin trousers, and coarse shoes, such as are worn 
by farmers in this vicinity. Near him lay two beautiful brown- 
spotted bird dogs, and a dark-colored pony was tied to a near-by 

According to the description, the man could be none other 
than he whom I sought. The answer he gave to my question 
corroborated my assumption. He used the speech of a culti- 
vated man, with a soft, hesitant voice that contrasted with his 
rough external appearance. It was the botanist, Mr. Ferdi- 
nand Lindheimer, of Frank fort-on-the-Main. He has done a 
lasting service in his many years of assiduous collecting of the 
plants and study of the botany of Texas. . . . Here he built 
the hut described above, and with greater leisure and conven- 
ience than he had ever before enjoyed in Texas, began to collect 
systematically the rich and largely unknown flora of the 
region. . . . 

In spite of the hardships and misfortunes that marked the 
terrible year of 1846, Lindheimer kept on with his collecting 
in the New Braunfels region, sometimes in company with 
Roemer, and also engaged in work for the colony. The fol- 
lowing year he traveled up the Guadalupe to the new town of 
Fredericksburg, near the Pedernales River. After some time 
spent in this locality he joined the Darmstadt group who were 
on their way to establish their colony, Bettina, between the 
Llano and San Saba rivers. It appears that he remained at 
this colony through the winter of 1847-48, returning to New 
Braunfels the following February. From February to June, 
1848, he collected at New Braunfels; and his plant labels 
indicate that in July and August he returned to the Pedernales 
and the Llano. No later records for this year are to be found 
among Lindheimer's collected plants. It was a poor collecting 
season, that summer of 1848, for the burning sun had almost 
destroyed the vegetation of the granitic soil that had gone 
for months without a rain. 

From Lindheimer's plant-labels it appears that he spent the 
whole of the collecting season of 1849 in the neighborhood of 


Comanche Spring (later known as "Meusebach's Farm"), a 
camping place about twenty miles north of San Antonio on 
the Fredericksburg road. He collected there from February 
to November, and then, after a short trip up the Cibolo, re- 
turned to New Braunfels. His last two years of collecting 
for Engelmann and Gray, 1850 and 1851, were spent at New 
Braunfels, and his collecting arrangement with them termi- 
nated that year. With Lindheimer's assumption of the edi- 
torship of the newly-founded Neu-Braunfelser Zeitung late 
in 1852, his active career as a botanical collector was brought 
to a close ; but botany remained his avocation to the end of his 

Buried in forgotten accounts of the hardships encountered 
by the Adelsverein immigrants who landed at Indianola in 

1844, the name of Lindheimer appears as that of a humble but 
resolute leader. In the preceding chapter I have described the 
difficulties of the first colonists, and the terrible sufferings of 
the second group who landed at Indianola in the spring of 

1845. Life in New Braunfels in the early years was indeed 
precarious. An account written by Alvin H. Sorgel only two 
years after the events he describes will suffice to recall the 
conditions under which Lindheimer worked in 1846 and 1847: 

The hostility of the Indians had kept the settlers near to- 
gether and prevented their spreading out into neighboring ter- 
ritory. Harvests had not been plentiful, and many of the 
inhabitants . . . had grown indolent and thriftless. Many 
would work for a few dollars in the service of those who still 
had a little money. Some in their desperate plight, surrounded 
by disease and ruin, sought to enjoy after their own fashion 
the brief span of life still left them. Resorting to a wooden 
booth where there was dancing every night, the hale and sick 
together raved in a dizzy reel of enjoyment to the shrill music 
of a clarionetist, an individual who was also the professional 
grave-digger of the place. This midnight dance of death was 
the dreadful culmination of the sights the travelers had wit- 


nessed on their way to New Braunfels, — human bones, cast- 
off pieces of clothing, beds, tools, chests strewn along the 
desert path between Indian Point and New Braunfels. . . . 
The next summer, in 1847, New Braunfels received additions 
to its population and gained in stability. . . . Disease became 
less frequent and the harvesting of crops placed a premium on 
work. As soon as the colonists were made to stand on their 
feet, the sturdy class prospered and the idlers fell away like 
frost-bitten leaves in autumn. 

One acquainted with Lindheimer only in his later years, 
when his deep blue eyes had lost their fire, his thick black 
beard had grown snow-white, and his compact, well-knit 
frame had become the trembling body of an old man, would 
never have guessed the heroic life he had lived. In exploring 
the country around New Braunfels he had a number of en- 
counters with the Indians. He seems to have had little fear 
of them, and they molested him not at all. Doubtless when 
they saw him gathering his plants they considered him a 
great Medicine Man gathering herbs for his magic brews. In 
Lindheimer's book there is a long chapter on his experiences 
with the Indians, only a few of which may be mentioned. 
Chief Satanta, or Santa Anna, of the Comanches, was very 
friendly to Lindheimer and visited him several times in New 
Braunfels. On one of these occasions he gazed with approval 
on Lindheimer's little son Eugene, a bright-eyed lad of two 
years who was running around without clothes like a Mexican 
child. The old chief said nothing, but on his next trip to New 
Braunfels he brought with him two handsome mules and a 
little Mexican girl, saying, "You take mules and Mexican, I 
take boy!" and could hardly understand why the exchange 
could not be made. 

Another incident related by Lindheimer in the Aiifsatze 
well illustrates his quick intelligence in dealing with the In- 

At the beginning of our New Braunfels settlement [he 


writes], as the locality here was almost without roads, and 
uncertain, curiosity impelled me to see the territory which lay 
on the other side of the rocky slope ... to the north of New 
Braunfels. ... I suddenly found myself in the neighborhood 
of a band of Indians. They were astounded that I had climbed 
the rocks with my horse, and said that I had a good horse; 
I instantly cocked both hammers of my double-barreled gun, 
and they asked me the reason for it. I answered them [in 
Spanish], "It's well to be careful!" and they laughingly agreed. 

Lindheimer's friendliness toward the Indians, and theirs 
toward him, made it possible for him to accompany them on 
several journeys — not without grumbling on their part, to be 
sure, for they felt his great collections of plants and his 
bundles of drying paper were useless impediments. 

Out of the many episodes of Lindheimer's life it will be 
possible to select here only a few that have a direct bearing 
on his work or on his environment. Among the most sig- 
nificant experiences of Lindheimer's middle life were his 
exploration of the country northwest of New Braunfels to- 
ward Fredericksburg and the Llano-San Saba purchase, in 
1847 and 1848, and his part in the founding of the Darmstadt 

By 1847 the hardest times were over in New Braunfels. 
Meusebach, successor to Prince Solms, aided by the sturdy 
German pluck and persistence of the colonists themselves, had 
saved the day. And new settlers of outstanding ability were 
on the way. The time was ripe in Germany for another polit- 
ical upheaval and abortive revolution, that of 1848. In the 
German Gymnasia and universities, agents of the Texan 
colonization project had been giving lectures to students, 
representing to them the great advantages of emigration. 
Prince Solms himself had addressed the students of the Tech- 
nical School and the Gymnasium at Darmstadt. As a result, 
forty young men, chiefly from Darmstadt, with great care 
and skilful planning formed a colony to come to Texas. 


Among them were two graduate physicians, seven lawyers, 
five foresters, two mechanics, two carpenters, a ship's carpen- 
ter, a butcher, a miller, a blacksmith, a hotel-keeper, a maker 
of musical instruments, a farmer, and a brewer, as well as a 
young student of theology and a fifteen-year-old boy, Louis 
Reinhardt, sent out to botanize for the Technical School at 
Darmstadt. The guiding spirits of the enterprise were Dr. 
Herfif, who became in later years a prominent physician of 
San Antonio, and the engineer, Gustav Schleicher, a graduate 
of Giessen, who later represented Texas in the Congress of 
the United States. 

At this time Texas was beginning to attract the choicest 
spirits from many German advanced schools and universities. 
For some years the same forces that had brought about the 
formation of Latin Farmer communities in the Mississippi 
Valley had been causing that influx of cultivated Europeans to 
Texas which Olmsted mistakenly supposed was entirely a re- 
sult of the revolutionary disturbances of 1848 in Europe. He 

After the events of 1848 . . . came numbers of cultivated 
and high-minded men, some distinctly refugees, others simply 
compromised, in various degrees, by their democratic tenden- 
cies. ... I have described how wonderfully some of them are 
still able to sustain their intellectual life and retain their refined 
taste, and, more than all, with their antecedents, to be seemingly 
contented and happy, while under the necessity of supporting 
life in the most frugal manner by hard manual labor. There 
is something extremely striking in the temporary incongruities 
and bizarre contrasts of the backwoods life of these settlers. 
You are welcomed by a figure in a blue flannel shirt and pendent 
beard, quoting Tacitus, having in one hand a long pipe, in the 
other a butcher's knife; Madonnas upon log walls; coffee in tin 
cups upon Dresden saucers ; barrels for seats, to hear a Bee- 
thoven symphony upon the grand piano; ... a fowling-piece 
that cost $300 and a saddle that cost $5 ; a book case half filled 
with classics, half with sweet potatoes. . . . [Their most 
prominent faults] are a free-thinking and a devotion to reason, 


carried, in their turn, to the verge of bigotry, and expanded 
to a certain rude license of manners and habits, consonant with 
their wild prairies, but hardly with the fitness of things. 

But to return to the forty young Darmstadters, intent on 
forming a colony in Texas. They reached Texas early in 
1847, and weighed down with all conceivable tools and equip- 
ment they might need for a colony (they carried with them 
all the necessary equipment for a flour mill, and even a can- 
non), began the march to New Braunfels and Fredericksburg. 
They reached the latter town probably in July, and remained 
there a few days before setting out for the tract, lying be- 
tween the Llano and San Saba rivers, which had but recently 
been purchased from the Indians as a site for their colony. 
As has been indicated above, Lindheimer, who had been col- 
lecting for some time in the vicinity of Fredericksburg, made 
ready to go with them to the new purchase. 

The colony, which was of the Icarian type proposed by 
fitienne Cabet, was called "Bettina," after Bettina von Arnim. 
Louis Reinhardt, the young botanist who accompanied the 
group, has given an informative account of the life of the 
colony : 

Having spent several days in Fredericksburg [he says], we 
set out for our tract, [Baron von] Kriewitz again being our 
guide. Of course we had to move very slowly; and when we 
arrived at the Llano, we hunted a ford for three days. The 
best one finally proved to be but a few yards from our camp, 
where we had to lift the wagons four feet upon a rock in the 
bottom of the river by the aid of windlasses, and this work took 
us from morning to night. The Llano was then a beautiful 
stream, as clear as crystal, and known in our party as the 
"silvery Llano." One could see the bottom at the deepest places. 
The whole country was covered with mesquite grass as high 
as the knee, and abounded in buffalo and deer. 

The colonists arrived at the grant early in September of 1847; 
and in November a party of Indians arrived for a visit, mak- 
ing camp a short distance from the settlement. 


During the night a number of our utensils were stolen by the 
squaws ; but the next day the men returned them. For every- 
thing we gave them we were paid back three-fold. As they 
stayed some time, we became well acquainted. Whenever we 
came into their camp, they would spread out their deer skins, 
bring out morrals full of the biggest pecans I ever saw, and 
tell us to help ourselves. They even tried to learn German from 
us, in spite of the great difficulty they found in pronouncing 
some of the words. The word Pferd they could not say at all ; 
Ross was easier; but best of all they liked Gaul, which seemed 
to afford them great amusement. Other tribes visited us, but 
none caused us the least annoyance. There were Lipans, Dela- 
wares, Kickapoos, Wacos, Choctaws, Shawnees, and Coman- 
ches, making seven different tribes. After January, 1848, no 
more Indians came.* 

Lindheimer, it will be remembered, returned to New 
Braunfels in February. The colony of Bettina proved to be 
short-lived; in the summer of 1848, in Reinhardt's words, it 
"went to pieces like a bubble" ; 

... it was a communistic society [he adds] and accordingly 
had no real government. Since everybody was to work if he 
pleased and when he pleased, the result was that less and less 
work was done as time progressed. Most of the professional 
men wanted to do the directing and ordering, while the me- 
chanics and laborers were to carry out their plans. Of course, 
the latter failed to see the justice of this ruling. 

Lindheimer is known in the history of the German element 
in the United States not only as a naturalist, but also as a 
gifted editor who for nearly twenty years managed the Nen- 
Braunfelser Zeitung. This paper, founded in 1852, partly 
by popular subscription, became one of the leading journals 
in the German language in the United States. The paper 
reached a high journalistic plane which seems fantastic in 
this day of the yellow press. With its long, scholarly articles, 

* This account apparently disproves the oft-repeated statement that 
Indian troubles brought about the dissolution of the colony. 


well larded with classical quotations and allusions, it still 
makes good reading, if one can get over the Latinity. An 
example or two from the Aufsatze, which consists of essays 
reprinted from the Zeitung and the Neu-Yorker Staats- 
Zeitung, will suggest Lindheimer's editorial manner. In 
speaking of the cattle industry in Texas, he says: "The In- 
dians . . . from their own point of view, consider their robbing 
expeditions great deeds and themselves heroes, like Odysseus 
and Diomede, who stole the horses of King Rhesus ; or Her- 
cules, who robbed the children of Geryon." And in another 
place, dealing with his favorite controversial topic, the con- 
flict between theology and science, he writes : "Everyone . . . 
can appreciate the importance of this conflict . . . and if we 
cannot be banner-bearers or field generals in this Kultur- 
kampf, we can at least fight faithfully in the front ranks, so 
that in our deaths we may join in the Spartan battle-song of 
Tyrtaeus : 'Beautiful it is to die, fighting in the front rank !' " 

In an editorial concluding his service with the newspaper, 
Lindheimer reviews frankly the unpleasant features accom- 
panying the founding of the Zeitung, describes the sinister 
forces he had warred against, and then proceeds to his own 
apologia : 

As far as I know, I myself have never made use of the 
columns of this paper for personal defense, because I con- 
sidered the newspaper an auditorium for public opinion and 
the property of the public, and not a [illegible] for private 
parties. ... I have never spoken against my conviction. . . . 
My political opponents have nevertheless honored me with the 
title "Liigenheimer," but have never made use of my offer to 
publish proof of their accusation in the Neu-Braunfelser Zeitung, 
though they have frequently been invited to do so. . . . Per- 
haps never did a Roman say with more conviction "Beatus Me 
qui procul negotiis," than I who say good-bye to the news- 
paper business. 

It was Lindheimer's manner seldom to speak of his past or 
of his achievements. He was always a quiet man, never losing 


his temper or expressing himself strongly — unless he was 
paying his respects to the clergy, when "geistliche Raubritter" 
"Lohnpriester," "Leviten," or perhaps on mild days, "Pfaf- 
fen" was the order of the hour. He lived a long and useful 
life, one filled with great content in the doing of his work, in 
communing with nature, and in his contemplation of that 
great philosophy of life which he has beautifully summarized 
in his essay in the Aufs'dtse entitled "Optimismus." 

His motivation in life was a pursuit of the good life for its 
own sake. "Do right and justice for the sake of right and 
justice, not for the reward !" he says in his essay "Ueber 
Schulunterricht." "The heroes, martyrs, and saviors of 
mankind have by their lives tried to demonstrate that the in- 
dividual man has no special or peculiar interest for himself, 
and that he cannot with happiness to himself seek his own 
aims independently of the interest of humanity. " Lind- 
heimer's hatred of religious bigotry rises to a high pitch again 
and again in his essays. Most of them bear the impress of the 
intense bitterness bred of the reactionary oppression which 
curbed his youthful enthusiasms in Germany, and do not give 
a true impression of Lindheimer's naturally sweet temper 
under any less provocation. During his life, it is said, he 
counted many ministers and priests among his personal 
friends; we have seen how harmonious was his friendship 
with Pastor Ervendberg. In all his diatribes he drew the 
distinction between religion and what he called "Priester- 
Christenthuni." And while he could declare in an essay on 
education, "I really need no God for my ethics ... no special 
World-God, no Demiurge,'' still he could continue by saying, 
"I will deny neither the necessity of such a God for the pious, 
childlike Wei tans chaining of the people, nor the actual ex- 
istence of such a God. I am neither atheist nor deist." Yet 
toward the last, when he celebrated his seventy-fifth birthday 


(he had but three years more to live), he could write in his 
"Birthday-Thoughts of a Man of Seventy-Five" : 

In the United States of North America, where the terrorism 
of the orthodox rabble often reaches almost the ferocity of the 
sordid Anachoretes of Egypt, who in Alexandria stripped 
Hypatia naked and tore her to pieces, because she gave lectures 
before an educated public on the highest questions of humanity : 
here in our republic, where the religious zealots love to obscure 
the light of Truth by their industrious stirring up of [verbal 
dust] . . . 

Surely here is no trembling, or weakening of the antagonism 
he felt toward organized religion ! The sown wind of child- 
hood repression had reaped the whirlwind: it is for us to 
attempt to understand, knowing that to comprehend is to 

Lindheimer met death bravely on December 2, 1879. A 
contemporary estimate of his life and character, especially in 
relation to his newspaper, is to be found in an unidentified 
clipping, probably from the Neu-Braunfelser Zeitung, of 
December 9, 1879: 

Lindheimer has led as happy a life as is possible for a man 
entirely devoted to his science. He was sufficient unto himself. 
His demands on life were slight and thus he never battled with 
want in the true sense, though his eventful life may have known 
many days of struggle for existence. ... [His editorship of 
the Neu-Braunfelser Zeitung] yielded him little pleasure, but 
rather many annoyances and irritations in abundance. But as in 
other things, here too the work itself was enough enjoyment for 
him. The contents of the paper were frequently beyond the 
comprehension of the majority of the readers ; he did not write 
to please the masses but to uplift them, and thus the first eighteen 
volumes of the Neu-Braunfelser Zeitung offer to the educated 
man even today a rich treasure of instructive reading. 

In the field of botany, Lindheimer is honored by having a 
round score of species of plants named in his honor by scien- 
tific specialists. His name, along with that of Charles 


Wright, whose friend he was, is indissolubly connected with 
the botany of Texas, to which in his collections for Engel- 
mann and Gray he made contributions of outstanding value. 
In his essay on optimism, in which he sums up the philosophy 
of his whole life, he utters a sentence that deserves to be his 
epitaph : "Yes : he in whose mind humanity has been realized 
as a single, indivisible whole, whose personal efforts are but 
the individual manifestations of the aim of this whole, himself 
lives the eternal life of humanity." Even so: and Lind- 
heimer's name lives forever in the very nomenclature of the 
science he loved. 

-»>»»»»>»>»»» »»xfr«e-«K-<« «<- « « « «<<«■ 




PRINCE SOLMS, the first Commissioner-General of the 
Adelsverein, seems from the very beginning to have been 
interested in the mineral resources of the colony. In his 
fourth report to the directors of the Verein he stated that he 
had secured from an old Mexican a promise to guide him to 
the nearest of the fabulously rich silver mines on the San Saba 
River reputed to have been worked by the Spaniards ; and in 
a later report he referred again to the matter in discussing the 
need for fifty miners in the colony. When, in the spring of 
1845, he relinquished the Commissioner-Generalship, he en- 
gineered the appointment as his successor of an accomplished 
student of the natural sciences, Baron Ottfried Hans von 
Meusebach, hoping that under von Meusebach's direction the 
mineral resources of the lands of the Colony would receive 
proper investigation and development. Solms also wrote to 
the Berlin Academy of Sciences (of which Baron Alexander 
von Humboldt, Leopold von Buch, Heinrich Ernst Beyrich, 
M. H. Lichtenstein, Johannes Miiller, and Christian Johann 
Ehrenberg were leading members) requesting the aid of the 
Academy in securing the services of some competent young 
geologist to make a careful survey of Texas, especially of the 
area included within the Adelsverein grant. After much 
deliberation, the members of the Academy chose Dr. Ferdi- 
nand von Roemer of Hildesheim, a member of a prominent 
family of that city. With the financial assistance of the Ber- 



lin Academy and personal aid from Humboldt and von Buch, 
Roemer came to Texas late in 1845. For eighteen months he 
worked so effectively that as competent a geologist as Profes- 
sor Frederick W. Simonds, in his excellent biographical sketch 
of Roemer, justly calls him the "Father of the Geology of 
Texas." Roemer also did excellent work here in other fields 
of natural history, and hence merits inclusion among those 
naturalists who have identified themselves with the South- 
western frontier. 

When Ferdinand von Roemer came to Texas he was a 
young man, in his twenty-eighth year. He had been born in 
Hildesheim, in Hanover, on January 5, 1818, of an excellent 
family, several members of which were actively interested in 
natural science. In this ancient city filled with medieval art 
and with many interesting old buildings, including the earliest 
dated timbered house in Germany, Roemer had come to ado- 
lescence. His father was a counsellor to the High Court of 
Justice in Hildesheim; and the boy, intended for the law and 
the government service, was prepared for the university at the 
Gymnasium Andreanum in his native city. During his Gym- 
nasium days, an obscure teacher of mathematics stimulated 
an interest in nature that later, strengthened by the influence 
of Roemer's elder brother and some of his friends, confirmed a 
boy's interest into an absorbing avocation. After passing his 
Abiturient en-ex amen from the Gymnasium, Ferdinand 
Roemer, at the age of eighteen, matriculated at the University 
of Gottingen as a student of jurisprudence. The next three 
years he spent in preparation for his father's profession. But 
because of some obscure political complications, for which 
young Roemer was apparently not responsible, he was ex- 
cluded from the state examination required of all those who 
entered the government service in the law. 

During his years at Gottingen Roemer had indulged his 


early love of science by attending some lectures on geology, 
and in the summer semester of 1838 he had studied natural 
history at Heidelberg. Here he had made the acquaintance 
of the renowned Professor Heinrich Georg Bronn, who was 
just then crowning his first years of work as a professor at 
Heidelberg by the publication of the last volume of his mag- 
num opus, his Lethcea Geognostica. So deep an impression 
did the young student make upon the master, then and later, 
that fourteen years afterward Bronn invited Roemer to collab- 
orate with him on the third edition of the work, which ap- 
peared in six octavo volumes in the years 1852-56. 

Finding a legal career closed to him, Ferdinand Roemer, 
acting on his brother's advice, decided to become a geologist. 
In furtherance of his aim he matriculated at Berlin, and there 
attended the lectures of a number of eminent scholars. Dur- 
ing his stay in Berlin, young Roemer made many warm 
friends among men of science, including Julius Ewald, the 
paleontologist, Dr. Leopold von Buch, Professor von Dechen, 
and the youthful Heinrich Ernst Beyrich, later professor of 
geology at Berlin. On the tenth of May, 1842, Roemer de- 
fended his thesis before the university faculty at Berlin and 
received his doctoral degree. 

Armed with a doctor's diploma, but not spoiled by it, Roemer 
then set out actively to study the geology of Germany. He 
tramped over and studied the mountainous country along the 
Rhine in Westphalia. Two years later, in 1844, he published 
a memoir on the geology of this region, dedicated to the vener- 
able von Buch, which is still a classic. Subsequently Roemer 
published other contributions (chiefly in the Neues Jahrbuch 
fur Miner alogie, 1845) dealing with his researches into the 
mountain structure of Rhenish Westphalia, especially in the 
Teutoberg Forest region. As a result, when Roemer set out 
for the Adelsverein colony in Texas he bore an open letter of 
introduction from Baron von Humboldt commending the 


young geologist to American men of science and declaring 
that "Dr. Roemer, like a book, needs but to be opened to yield 
good answers to all questions." Thus the years moved toward 
the greatest single event in Roemer's life: in the autumn of 
1845, armed with his letters and credentials from the Berlin 
Academy of Sciences, he arrived in America. 

The eighteen months that Roemer spent in Texas were so 
packed with adventure and with labor in the field of geology 
that one can relate only the chief events of his sojourn. Be- 
fore attempting an account of these experiences, however, I 
should like to indicate briefly his itinerary in Texas. 

Roemer left New Orleans for Texas on the twentieth of 
November, 1845, and arrived in Galveston on the twenty- 
second. He spent seven weeks in Galveston and vicinity, 
wandering all over the island collecting land- and sea-plants 
and animals, and making shipments of these to his friends of 
the Academy of Sciences at Berlin. In Galveston, then a 
town of some five thousand people, he met, among others, 
William Kennedy, the British Consul, and Dr. Ashbel Smith, 
who some months previously had returned from his diplomatic 
service for the Republic of Texas at the British and French 
courts. While at Galveston, Roemer also made a visit to one 
of the ships of the Texan navy. It may be remarked paren- 
thetically that he spoke rather scornfully of the navy in the 
account of his travels published after he returned to Germany. 

Those weeks at Galveston were filled with new and interest- 
ing experiences: his first "norther," on New Year's Day, 
which broke the mildness of a memorably mild winter; his 
oyster-hunt on the wreck of one of the former ships of the 
Texan navy, the Invincible, which had been run aground by 
the Mexicans nearly ten years before ; and his observation of 
the incredible numbers of water-birds that covered the surface 
of Galveston Bay. On January 4, the news came to Texas 


that the American Congress had passed almost unanimously 
a resolution calling for the annexation of Texas. War with 
Mexico was imminent, and Roemer began to think of the task 
he had come to Texas to perform — the investigation of the 
geology of the Fisher & Miller Grant, which the Adelsverein 
had begun to colonize. Because of the uncertainty of the 
coast route to the German colony on the Guadalupe — by way 
of Lavaca Bay — Roemer decided to go to Houston, and thence 
across country. On the twelfth of January, therefore, he set 
out for Houston on a steamboat, finding some distinguished 
fellow-passengers aboard. Invited by Colonel James Morgan 
to stop off for a visit with him in his home at New Washing- 
ton, at the head of the Bay, Roemer spent several days in that 
vicinity studying Pliocene fossils he found there. He was 
greatly impressed by the opulence of Colonel Morgan. The 
beautiful surface of Galveston and San Jacinto bays, here 
partly separated by the tract of land which has come to be 
called "Morgan's Point," and covered at this season of the 
year with endless flocks of water-fowls, filled him with delight 
and amazement. 

On the seventeenth of January, Roemer left New Wash- 
ington for Houston. He stopped five days in Houston at the 
old Capitol Hotel, which he graphically describes. While 
waiting for the departure of the freighting train with which 
he was to travel to the Colony, he became much interested in 
the stories of the Indians of West Texas told him by a fron- 
tiersman from that region; and he determined to use every 
opportunity to see and learn more of these people. 

With Nicholas Zink and his train of merchandise-wagons 
Roemer set out for the frontier on January 23, 1846. Be- 
cause of the recent rains the roads were almost bottomless. 
Streams had to be headed, for in their lower reaches they 
were level with their banks. The first night the party stopped 
at Piney Point, nine miles from Houston. Nightfall of the 



third day found them completely exhausted in the Brazos 
bottom near San Felipe — the appearance of which was a grave 
disappointment to Roemer. Pushing on to Columbus, he 
noted with approval its pleasant location, its eighteen or 
twenty houses, all with porches, and its three stores, two 
taverns, and a smithy. Farther on, Gonzales, with its mean, 
ramshackle appearance, seemed to the naturalist the antith- 
esis of Columbus, but he found the road from Gonzales to 
New Braunfels pleasant in its variety of scene and prospect. 
Roemer arrived at his destination after a journey of seventeen 
days, in which he and his companions had traveled approxi- 
mately two hundred and fifty miles. Here at New Braunfels 





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he met two of his relatives who had come to Texas to buy land, 
and also encountered Ferdinand Lindheimer, under circum- 
stances which have been described in an earlier chapter. 

The next thirteen weeks (February 9 to May 17, 1846), 
Roemer spent profitably in the vicinity of New Braunfels, 
making brief but important side-trips to near-by localities. 
Collecting-excursions with Lindheimer, visits to Flores 
Rancho, near Seguin, and trips about the country near New 
Braunfels under protection of the Adelsverein cavalry oc- 
cupied his time for three full months. In fact, he remained 
in the vicinity of New Braunfels during most of the first year, 
except for a journey with Wilhelm Langenheim down the Col- 
orado valley to Nassau Farm, near Round Top, in Fayette 
County (May 18 to June 7, 1846), and a month's trip with 
John F. Torrey, of Houston and New Braunfels to Torrey's 
Trading Post on the Brazos, near present Waco (July 24 to 
August 28, 1846). On Monday, July 13, 1846, Roemer wit- 
nessed the first county election in newly-organized Comal 
County, when some of his old Hildesheimer friends were 
elected to office. Roemer's trip to the Trading Post was 
marred by an attack of malarial fever during ten days of his 
sojourn there, and a recurrence of this fever after his return 
to New Braunfels on August 28, 1846, prostrated him for 
some time. The dysentery, which during that summer of 1846 
took toll of hundreds of lives in Texas, attacked him at the 
beginning of October ; and in his fevered condition, he made 
but a slow recovery. The disease confined him to his room in 
New Braunfels for an entire month. 

The first three months of the year 1847 were busy and 
most profitable ones for Roemer. He spent the last two weeks 
of January and the first week of February in geological study 
and collecting at Fredericksburg, the newly founded upper 
town of the Colony — work which came to rich fruition later in 
his book on the Cretaceous formations of Texas. From Feb- 


ruary 6 to March 7 he was with Baron von Meusebach on his 
famous trip of twenty-nine days to the San Saba country for 
a council with the Comanche Indians. On their return to 
Fredericksburg, the Meusebach party left Roemer at the upper 
settlement again. Here he remained a month, continuing his 
studies of the geology of the region. On Monday, April 5, he 
returned to New Braunfels for the last time, there to spend 
the three remaining weeks of his stay in packing his collections 
and getting them ready for shipment to Germany. He left 
New Braunfels for Houston on April 23, and left Galveston 
on May 8, 1847. 

Back in Germany, Roemer found that the value of his 
geological investigations in Texas was cordially recognized. 
In June, 1848, he was made a Privat-Dozent in geology at 
the University of Bonn, a position which he held until his call 
in 1855 to a professorship at the University of Breslau in 
East Prussia. Here he remained, in spite of calls to other 
German universities, until his death in 1891. One of Roe- 
mer's students, the late Professor Wilhelm Dames, has de- 
scribed the fruitful and brilliant academic career of the 
geologist. "Roemer," he says, "was a master of teaching: he 
knew how to choose with wisdom from the mass of material 
just what was useful to the student as an introduction to 
science; and this he presented in an indescribably original 
and vivid way, so clearly and luminously that from merely 
hearing the lecture one remembered an extraordinary amount 
of the material under discussion. Roemer's lectures and 
laboratories were always crowded," Dames continues, "and 
many of his students were led to choose his science as their 
life-work. His love of teaching, his stimulating style of lec- 
turing, his care for his students remained undiminished to the 
end ; as an old man he taught with the same zeal, vivacity, and 
clarity he had shown in his youth." 


Vivid glimpses of Texas in the days of annexation are 
frequent in the book about Texas that Roemer published after 
his return to Europe. Although it was based on his experi- 
ences in a land he had come to love almost as a second home, 
he considered it of secondary importance in comparison with 
his more strictly scientific writing. But to us of the present 
day it is intensely interesting because of the light it throws on 
the country, the life, and the men of early Texas. The narra- 
tive has a vivacity and at the same time an honesty and solidity 
that make it an invaluable source for the social history of that 
day in Texas. It is gratifying that this splendid book has 
recently been translated into English. 

One of the most interesting passages in Roemer's Texas is 
the account of his visit to New Washington on upper Galves- 
ton Bay. At Galveston, as we have seen, he had made the 
acquaintance of Mr. Kennedy, the British Consul, and of Dr. 
Ashbel Smith, who had been Secretary of State of the Re- 
public in 1845, and previously had been charge d'affaires of 
Texas at the English and French courts. Roemer describes 
vividly the circumstances under which he met Ashbel Smith : 

I am . . . indebted to Mr. Ashbel Smith, a scientifically- 
trained physician of long standing in Texas, for many kind 
advices and favors. . . . When I first visited this gentleman, 
I found him in a tiny, one-room house made of boards loosely 
thrown together. For furniture he had a bed, a small table, 
two broken chairs, and a chest containing books and papers. 
Papers in wild disorder lay strewn over the floor. Mr. Smith, 
a man of middle age, of a sharply-cut profile, and wearing high 
riding-boots, upon my entrance sat upon the book chest; on 
the bed lay another man, who was at once introduced as Colonel 
[Barnard E.] B [ee], former minister of war of the Republic 
of Texas. Although these surroundings were in sharp con- 
trast with those in which European statesmen are wont to live, 
it was strikingly apparent to me (as I soon convinced myself) 
that these plain surroundings did not preclude in any wise a 
many-sided, thorough knowledge, and a finished urbanity of 
manners. During my further stay in Texas, I often found 


similar contrasts between the level of culture of some men and 
their environment ; and I have often wondered how well-bred, 
cultivated men could bear for years, with complete resignation, 
the simplicity and even the rawness of frontier life where they 
lacked even the simplest conveniences. 

On the twelfth of January, 1846, Roemer left Galveston 
for Houston on the steamer Spartan. Among the passengers 
were Ashbel Smith, Mr. Kennedy (bound for Washington- 
on-the-Brazos on consular business), Colonel James Morgan, 
of New Washington, and the British world travelers, Mr. and 
Mrs. Houstoun, with whom Roemer felt already acquainted 
from his reading of Mrs. Houstoun's interesting work on 
Texas. Colonel Morgan, who like all the old "Texians," as 
they loved to call themselves, was the soul of hospitality, in- 
vited all of them — the Houstouns, Ashbel Smith, who was 
more or less of a familiar at New Washington, and Roemer — 
to spend a few days at his home. Few visits were ever more 
fully documented, for Roemer gives the sort of solid, informa- 
tive account that might be expected from a German man of 
science, while Mrs. Houstoun's narrative is sprightly, intense- 
ly interesting from the human point of view, and not ham- 
pered too much by a minute adherence to fact. For our 
purposes, Mrs. Houstoun's account is of especial value, for 
she paints several portraits of the German scientist who pokes 
about in the mud of Texan rivers, neglects his toilet, has a 
voracious appetite, is fond of cognac, and commits the crime, 
unpardonable to a Britisher of the middle class, of not riding 
well. The party arrived at New Washington in the night, 
but were received with cordial hospitality by Colonel Morgan's 
daughter-in-law, Mrs. Kosciusko Morgan, before her mar- 
riage Caroline Cox of Franklin County, Kentucky. In the 
days that followed the visitors had an opportunity to observe 
the normal routine of a Texas plantation. I quote from Mrs. 
Houstoun's narrative : 


Our mode of life is as follows: we breakfast at nine on hot- 
corn bread [sic], and pork dressed in various ways; there is, 
moreover, good milk and eggs, tea and coffee. We dine at two, 
on roast pork, boiled ditto, and corn bread, and at seven o'clock 
in the evening we sup on the same. The food is spread before 
us in profusion, and, as I have before said, our welcome has 
been the very warmest possible. . . . 

Roemer gives a good description of the upper part of Galves- 
ton Bay and the contiguous San Jacinto Bay, as well as of the 
establishment at New Washington-: 

The house of Mr. Morgan lies on the shore of the San Jacinto 
bay, which here has an elevation of twenty or twenty-five feet. 
It is an unornamented, one-storey wooden building of the 
architectural type common in the Southern states, surrounded 
by a lawn in which are scattered several red-cedar trees. . . . 

On one side were the Negro quarters, on the other side the 
bay, and hundreds of cattle were grazing on the low penin- 
sula now cut by the ship canal. 

Countless flocks of water birds, such as I had never before 
seen [Roemer continues], covered the bay. In many places the 
surface of the water was completely blackened by the myriads 
of wild duck. Whole flocks of white swans, which appeared 
in the distance as a silver band; clumsy pelicans; geese; and 
various diving birds without number completed the swarm of 
these feathered water dwellers. . . . 

The noise of their cries continued unabated throughout the 

On the morning of January 14, guests and host rode out 
on the prairie, but returned before noon, for they had been 
invited to dinner by Mrs. Kosciusko Morgan's sister, Mrs. 
Sidney Sherman, who dwelt about three miles away. Near 
Morgan's house they passed an orange grove that he had 
planted some years previously, but which had been killed by a 
frost, and had not been replanted. 

And now enters into Mrs. Houstoun's account what is in- 


tended to be the buffoon of the piece, the young German geol- 
ogist, Ferdinand Roemer. She reveals in her sprightly way, 
more truthfully than she knew, how distrustful the British 
philistine of her day was of the man of science : 

Among the numerous guests assembled here — for it is to all 
intents and purposes an 'open house' — is a young German geol- 
ogist. I forget his name, but he is a Prussian by birth, and is 
sent out by his government to report upon the mineral resources 
of the tract of land chosen for the German colony. I have an 
idea that he is some relation of Baron Humboldt's, and it 
appears he enjoys considerable reputation for scientific skill and 
attainments. We find him gentlemanlike and well-informed, 
and indefatigable in his endeavors to further the cause of the 
particular branch of study to which he has devoted himself. 
He has not a tooth in his head, poor man. . . . Dr. R. is never 
without a cigar in his mouth (which feature is by no means 
of even moderate dimensions), but he is far too good-natured 
to mind a laugh or joke, and often makes them himself at the 
expense of his own personal appearance. . . . He researches 
amongst the mud of the Texan rivers, and his digging after 
geological specimens in the deep alluvial soil of the country 
cause great amusement to us all, and especially to the negroes, 
who take intense delight in watching his proceedings. . . . But 
the doctor, poking in the mud, is nothing to the doctor on horse- 
back ! And it is the best fun in the world to see him mounted 
on a little spirited half -broken mustang, with his stirrups far 
too short, and his breath coming thick and fast with excitement 
and fear. He never quite calls out for assistance; but at the 
same time, I am convinced that it is pride alone which prevents 
his doing so, and his face grows more and more cadaverous, as 
he splutters forth convulsive and guttural sounds, and prolonged 
ejaculations of 'Ach, a-c-h gott !' 'O o-h, o-o-h' till, if I did not 
feel that even a geological philosopher has no excuse for being 
afraid, I could find it in my heart to pity his distress. 

It must not be thought that Mrs. Houstoun was the sort of 
English snob of whom Americans in those days had such 
good cause to complain. She was neither unappreciative of 
the Texans of the rough frontier, nor unwilling to recognize 
urbanity and civility wherever she might find it. In a work 


published in 1844, entitled Texas and the Gulf of Mexico, she 
had asserted that "in this colony there exists a spirit of good 
will, and helpfulness, very pleasant to see. ... If a settler hap- 
pens to require the aid of his neighbor's hands, or working 
tools, in the performance of any manual labour, the assistance 
is rendered as readily as it is asked. ... I have reason to speak 
gratefully of the courtesy and civility of the Texans. During 
our stay among them, I experienced repeated instances of 
good will." In Mrs. Kosciusko Morgan, Mrs. Houstoun 
found beauty, wit, and the finest qualities of womanliness. 
Mrs. Sidney Sherman she thought even more charming. And 
her account of the dinner at Mrs. Sherman's is not patroniz- 
ing. As it gives a view of Texas in those days which is not 
widely familiar, I am tempted to quote from it at some length : 

Our stay at New Washington (which, by the way is . . . 
merely four or five wooden houses, belonging to the lord of 
the manor') has been diversified by a dinner party! The lady 
who kindly sent us an invitation is the wife of General S. who 
is at present away with the army in Mexico; and she is the 
sister of our pretty friend, 'Mrs. Kosciusko.' The scene of the 
festivity was about three miles from the place, and higher up 
the bay. ... I had an active Mexican pony allotted to me, 
while the doctor was mounted on a tall, rawboned beast, with 
a mouth as hard as its own bit, and a trot high and rough 
enough to shake even a better rider than the gentle German out 
of his saddle. He bore his trials, however, better than I had 
expected, and, happily for him, the prairie, besides being very 
much under water, was thickly covered with stunted trees, so 
that we were obliged to proceed both slowly and cautiously. 
At about four o'clock (the dinner hour) we arrived at our 
destination ; it is a log house, like the one we had quitted, but 
it is constructed with great architectural taste, and covered 
(porch and all) with creeping plants. . . . But though the 
house was cold, the welcome was not, and we were charmed 
with Mrs. S. who is a most agreeable and intellectual person, 
full of energy and decision, and just the character to make 
even a prairie life an endurable, if not a happy one. She is 
handsome and highly accomplished, and conducts the education 


of her children with admirable skill ; and while with her, I could 
not help feeling that were such women as numerous in America 
as they are perfect, the censure so often bestowed upon the 
manners and habits of American ladies might well be spared. 

The dinner party in this unpeopled prairie, though totally 
. . . unlike any at which I had ever before been present, was 
most enjoyable. The tout -ensemble was well calculated to make 
an impression upon European minds, drilled by the mighty 
force of fashion and habit into a subserviency to the conven- 
tional rules of society, and habituated to its monotony. You 
must not, however, suppose that there was any want of refine- 
ment either in the conversation or the dinner itself; on the 
contrary, the wines were so excellent, and the 'table talk' so 
varied and so intelligent, that we could hardly realise the fact 
that we were in a wooden house, with nothing better than a 
wilderness around its rough and unpretending walls. 

After a sumptuous dinner, of which, Roemer says, the piece 
de resistance was roasted turkey-cock, they sat about the great 
fire talking of affairs in Europe, in America, and in Texas. 
Time flew fast and night came on. 

It was twelve o'clock before the horses were ordered for our 
return [continues Mrs. Houstoun], the rain was beginning to 
fall, and the moon . . . had hidden her face behind the clouds. 
. . . We had not gone a quarter of a mile from the house, 
before our difficulties began in earnest, for it was only by 
calling aloud to each other that we could keep together, so 
pitchy was the darkness of the night. . . . And so we blun- 
dered along. ... I thought that midnight march would never 
come to an end, . . . and I was beginning, in consequence, to 
think rather gloomily of our prospects for the night, when I 
was aroused by a sound near me, which bore some faint resem- 
blance to a human voice, in supplication and entreaty. It was 
the Doctor, in the act of beseeching his refractory steed to move 
on; and so we listened; and presently, in guttural and most 
unmusical phraseology, these plaintive words were heard — T 
karn nicht get on mit mine horse at arl — what can I do mit 
him? — he is so idle, and when I want him to go squick, he will 
here stay to eat.' At that moment, the moon peeped out be- 
tween two driving clouds, and there was the poor foreigner, 
and his obstinate monture, fixed as it seemed till eetarnity. 


. . . This touching appeal to the compassion of his companions 
was not made in vain . . . and we all eventually, but not 
until it was three o'clock in the morning, and we were wet 
through [with the heavy night-dew] . . . reached our tempo- 
rary home at New Washington. . . . 

On the next day, January 15, Roemer and the Houstouns 
accompanied Ashbel Smith to his farm, "Evergreen Planta- 
tion," at the upper end of Galveston Bay, and spent the day 
with him. Roemer noted the rigorous simplicity of the ap- 
pointments of the two-room house, and the rich library. "A 
high cupboard in the corner was filled with books, forming a 
small library chosen with the most careful taste," says the 
scientist. "Besides the Greek and Roman classics were to be 
found the best examples of English and French literature. 
Similar contrasts between a raw environment stripped to the 
bare essentials of life, and a refined intellectual culture, are 
not rare throughout the whole Western United States." Mrs. 
Houstoun describes in detail the domestic arrangements of 
the great Texan patriot : 

It was late in the afternoon when we reached Mr. S[mith's] 
habitation, a neat batchelor's establishment, far enough from 
either the pleasures or the tracasseries of social life. A good 
many small wooden tenements for . . . [slaves] were dotted 
about, and there was some young stock frolicking about, in the 
shape both of negro children and horses ; there was poultry in 
great plenty and variety, and the farm and farm building looked 
well kept and thriving. As for the house itself, there is no 
denying that it was small, neither am I prepared to say that it 
contained more than one room of very limited extent. . . . 
[At dinner] no one was, apparently, more heartily amused at 
the entertaining deficiency of plates and places than our host 
himself. With too much good taste to oppress us with apol- 
ogies for the absence of luxuries, which, in that wild scene, 
would have been quite misplaced, he allowed us to enjoy our- 
selves in our own way, and we were, in consequence, quite 
happy. The doctor was as hungry as a hound, and devoured 
boiled fowls and fried eggs enough for a dozen men, at least; 
and though the wood fire did smoke, so that we were forced 


to sit with the door open, and though one took his place upon 
the bed, and another was obliged to content himself with a 
wooden box, I never recollect passing a more agreeable day. 
Our host, enlivened by some excellent French brandy, shone 
particularly in anecdote and repartee, and when the shades of 
evening began to close around the prairie home, it was with 
real regret that we made our preparations for returning. . . . 
We mounted our horses when the evening was far advanced, 
and in company with our hospitable entertainer prepared to 
ride once more toward the Bay . . . 

But Roemer, fearing the leaky boats in which the trip was to 
be made, refused to accompany the rest of the party. Mrs. 
Houstoun continues : 

Seeing that his fears placed him beyond the reach of persuasion, 
the ex-charge had nothing to do but to express a courteous hope 
that he would make himself quite at home where he was, and 
then we wished him 'farewell.' The last glimpse I caught of 
the scientific German, was the dim outline of a man seated on 
a wooden bench before the door of the shanty, with his ham- 
mer and a bag of specimens in his hand, and a considerable 
quantity of Cognac in his head. What became of him after 
that we never heard. . . . 

Which reminds me that one may look in vain through the Dic- 
tionary of National Biography to see what became of Mrs. 

After passing through Houston, as will be recalled, Roemer 
arrived at New Braunfels about the eighth of February, 1846. 
There he found the colonists building feverishly. Seguin 
Street, the chief street of the town, was at the time of Roe- 
mer's arrival fairly well defined by the houses bordering it; 
each house stood on a half -acre town lot which had been as- 
signed to the colonist by the Verein. Most of the plots were 
enclosed by fences. As Roemer saw New Braunfels in 1846: 

The houses were of very diverse construction, since every- 
one had the right to follow his own inclination therein, and 
besides, the people so far had had no experience as to what 


type of construction was most suitable to the climate. As a 
result, some of the houses were of logs, some were of studding 
framework filled in with brick, some were frame, and some 
were huts with walls made of cedar posts driven vertically 
into the ground like the posts of a stockade, with a tent-canvas 
or a couple of ox-hides for a roof, in lieu of shingles. 

Most of the houses followed the American style of a roofed- 
in porch, which in this warm climate is almost indispensable. 
The porch keeps the direct rays of the hot sun from the interior 
of the house, in addition to furnishing an airy, cool room for 
the performance of many household tasks. Many of the houses 
lacked the fireplaces to be found in the homes of the American 
settlers, although a fireplace is so necessary during the cold 
northers in winter. Since most of the houses were built in 
summer, the need for heating seemed remote. Too, the build- 
ing of a suitable fireplace required a dexterity that most of the 
German settlers did not possess. 

At the time of my arrival in New Braunfels, there might 
have been from eighty to one hundred of such houses and huts 
of various sizes. ... In most of the houses, although they 
were so small, were packed several families. The interior of 
such a house, where, among still unpacked chests, men, women, 
and children were cooped up, often looked like the steerage of 
an immigrant ship. 

As I entered the principal street a small house attracted my 
attention, upon which three business shingles hung, as follows : 
"Apothecary," "Dr. K.," and "Bakery." ... At first I thought 
that the baker was a boarder with the physician-owner of the 
house, but from my companion I learned that Dr. [Koester] 
actually united the professions of apothecary, baker, and physi- 
cian in his own person. . . . The evangelical church of the 
place also stands on the principal street, a sizable frame build- 
ing with window openings but no windows, built at the cost 
of the Verein. 

Roemer is enthusiastic in his praise of Ervendberg, although 
he thinks of him as pastor rather than as scientist : 

Close to the church stands a tiny house, the dwelling assigned 
to the evangelical minister, the Pastor Ervendberg, who exer- 
cised his spiritual office not in the ease of most of his German 
colleagues, but on a rather penurious living paid him up to this 
time by the Verein. On Sundays he preached, and on weekdays 


taught school and cultivated in the sweat of his face his corn- 
field and his garden. 

Baron von Meusebach (or John O. Meusebach, as he pre- 
ferred to call himself among the Texans), the Commissioner- 
General of the Colony in succession to Prince Solms, had been 
called to New Orleans on business and was not in New Braun- 
fels to welcome Roemer upon his arrival. When he returned 
a week later, he invited Roemer to accept accommodations of 
the Verein. The scientist was accordingly housed in the 
Sophienburg, or Government Building, during his stay in the 

Almost immediately Roemer met Lindheimer, for whom he 
came to , feel the highest regard. The acquaintance, he says, 
"was very pleasant and valuable to me during the entire time 
that I spent" in New Braunfels, and he adds that he still looks 
back "with especial pleasure" to his work with Lindheimer. 

The neighborhood of New Braunfels offered a rich collect- 
ing ground for the naturalist. Particularly attractive was the 
ford of the Guadalupe, a locality of surpassing beauty in 
Roemer's day, where he made rich collections of fossils, most 
of them new species. The slight falls of the Guadalupe at the 
entrance of Comal Creek Roemer considered the finest water 
with the most beautiful foliage he had seen either in Europe 
or America. In the vicinity of the town he observed for the 
first time the scissors-tailed flycatcher, and on the road to San 
Antonio, the road runner, while hosts of whippoorwills, blue- 
birds, mockingbirds, cardinals, and cowbirds gladdened his 
heart. In the Comal he found the fierce-biting soft-shell 
turtle, Trionyx jerox, eighteen inches long, and giant fresh- 
water prawns as long as lobsters. Along the Guadalupe above 
New Braunfels, on the road to Fredericksburg, Roemer noted 
giant cypresses six feet thick, and in other rivers of the Colony 
grant — the Llano, Pedernales, and San Saba, as well as in 
other places on the Guadalupe — cypress trees as thick as ten 


feet at the base. At the so-called 'Tails of the Guadalupe" 
(the "Waco Camp," six miles above New Braunfels) the 
cypresses formed a close formation in the rapidly flowing 
water of the river channel. 

To facilitate his exploring trips, Roemer bought a mule, 
which, much to his amusement, was forthwith dubbed by his 
friends "the scientific mule." Thus equipped, he began to 
make more extended journeys, frequently in Lindheimer's 
company. But Roemer can tell the tale better than I : 

For my collecting trips, which I was now obliged to begin 
with all possible energy, I purchased a mule that turned out to 
be a very useful and faithful servant, and accompanied me on 
all my wanderings in Texas. He patiently allowed himself to 
be packed with all sorts of objects related to natural history; 
and on some occasions when I came home of an evening from 
a trip, he offered a grotesque appearance, carrying, besides me, 
leather saddle-bags full of stones, a bundle of plants, and per- 
haps also a young alligator hanging from the pommel of the 

Soon I was receiving aid in collecting natural-history objects 
from the entire population of New Braunfels, especially the 
youngsters, since the more striking animal forms, unknown in 
the homeland, aroused their attention almost as much as they 
did mine. Almost every day they brought me birds, snakes, 
lizards, turtles, fishes, and so on; and by small remunerations 
I was able to stimulate them to renewed efforts in my behalf. 

In the first few days, I obtained a four-foot example of 
... the garfish, ... a predatory fish abundant in the 
Guadalupe and the Comal, which I have often seen remain- 
ing motionless in the clear waters of these rivers, apparently 
awaiting its prey. The first specimen that I opened had a 
foot-long fish in its stomach. . . . Most of the specimens of 
this species were captured by harpooning with an iron spear. 
The scales are so hard on this fish that one can open its body 
only by inserting the knife between the borders of contiguous 
scales. . . . 

On the eighteenth of March ... an eleven-foot alligator 
shot in Comal Creek, about six miles from New Braunfels, 
was brought to me. In the place where it was shot, where the 
creek widens to form a pond about thirty paces long, there 


were shot during the summer eight other fairly large or smaller 

Roemer was immensely curious about everything in the 
new and strange land of Texas ; and he eagerly embraced op- 
portunities to accompany the Indian trader, John F. Torrey, 
to his Trading House on the Upper Brazos, and to go with 
Meusebach, "El Sol Colorado/' when he went up to the San 
Saba country in 1847 for a council with the Indians. 

The name of John F. Torrey was one to conjure with among 
the Indians of Texas in early days. He was one of seven 
brothers born in Connecticut, all of whom at one time or an- 
other, made their homes in Texas, and all of whom engaged 
in the Indian trade, under the firm-name of Torrey Brothers. 
John F. Torrey had been born in Ashford, Connecticut, in 
1817; with another Connecticut man, George Barnard, one 
year his junior, he came to Texas in 1838. Other brothers of 
John F. Torrey came, and finally, in 1858, the father, John 
Torrey. John F. Torrey, the son, established himself in the 
Indian trade at Houston in 1838 or, 1839, with his old friend 
George Barnard as clerk. At some uncertain date, probably 
in the spring of 1844, the Torrey Brothers established a trad- 
ing post on Tehuacana Creek, eight miles southeast of present 
Waco in McLennan County. It was at that time fully twenty- 
five miles over the border in the Indian country. The Con- 
necticut Yankee Barnard, who was placed in charge of the 
post, became very popular with the Indians. When, in 1849 
or thereabouts, the Indians were moved westward, Barnard 
moved the post and established it on the Upper Brazos near 
Comanche Peak in Hood County, about four miles from the 
present town of Granbury. Both George Barnard and John 
F. Torrey were trusted by the Indians, and several Indian 
treaties with the whites were signed by John F. Torrey as 


witness. Roemer felt assured, of his safety in traveling into 
the Indian country with such a guide. 

The two left New Braunfels on the twenty-fourth of July, 
1846; camped the first night by the San Marcos springs, where 
Colonel Edward Burleson was strenuously attempting to build 
up a settlement ; and, striking the old C amino Real at Bastrop, 
followed it to Caldwell. Here they passed the night of July 
28 at the home of a stalwart Methodist, John W. Porter, of 
whom Roemer records that "he said a very long grace, and 
then read a chapter in the Bible/' before the famishing travel- 
ers could fall to. It was good to be able to sleep indoors, 
though the weather was unbearably hot and moist; for the 
night before they had slept in the open on the Yegua, where 
the mosquitoes, augmented in number by the very wet weather 
that characterized July of that year, made sleep an impossi- 
bility. The next day they reached the Brazos and crossed it 
somewhere near old Tenoxtitlan, and on the thirteenth reached 
Wheelock's Settlement (present Wheelock, in Robertson 
County). On the last day of July they set out from 
Wheelock's for the Trading House, and spent the night near 
present Marlin in Falls County, which then had the eupho- 
nious name of Bucksnort. , On Sunday, August 2, they 
reached the trading post. As Roemer relates : 

After a short ride of a few miles on the following morning, 
turning around a corner of the forest, we suddenly saw the 
trading post before us. It lies on a hill covered with oaks, 
above the broad, forested flood plain of Tehuacana Creek, and 
about two miles from the Brazos. The establishment consists 
of six or seven structures made entirely of rough, unhewn logs, 
as is the fashion of the country. These houses lack the pali- 
sades common to the forts of the fur companies of the Upper 
Missouri, as well as every other sort of protective fence. The 
safety of the trading post against Indian attack is based on its 
usefulness, even necessity, to the Indians. 

The largest of these log cabins contains the hides and furs 
brought in by the Indians — buffalo rugs and skins of the com- 


mon American deer (Cervus zrirginianus L.) form by far the 
chief part. The buffalo skins are brought by the Indians : 
part of them entirely raw, part of them tanned on the inside, 
and then usually more or less decoratively painted. The value 
of these depends on size, the evenness of the hair, and the 
quality of the decoration. . . . Another log house contained the 
stores of Indian goods for barter. The most important are 
the following: woolen coverlets; coarse woolen cloth (so-called 
strouding), especially dyed scarlet-red and blue, from which 
they make the characteristic breech-clout ; printed calico for 
shirts; and thick brass wire for armlets and anklets, glass 
beads, powder, lead, tobacco, etc. 

The other log houses contained the dwellings of the various 
persons staying at the trading post. There were present an 
agent [George Barnard] appointed by Torrey Brothers to carry 
on trade with the Indians, and a gunsmith and armorer placed 
there by the Government to care for the Indians' weapons. 
There was also an old trapper whom gout and rheumatism had 
unfitted for the life of a hunter. He had taken up his abode 
here a short time before, in the unconquered wilderness, to be 
as near as possible to the scenes of his earlier joys and deeds 
and as far as possible from hated civilization. He would tell 
with rapture to anyone who would listen tales of lonely hunting 
for beaver in the Rocky Mountains, and other incomparable 
sketches of a trapper's life. . . . There was also an Indian 
agent appointed by the Government who was well acquainted 
with the languages and customs of the different Indian 
tribes. . . . 

The method of life followed at this extreme frontier of 
civilization was in keeping with the wildness and primitiveness 
of the surroundings. Dried buffalo flesh, smoked buffalo 
tongues (which are generally considered delicacies in the civi- 
lized portion of the United States), bacon, honey, and bread 
were the most appetizing foods. A pile of buffalo hides made 
an excellent bed for the night. 

The second day after our arrival, a small band of Indians 
came for the purpose of trading. It was a picturesque, very 
attractive drama for European eyes — the caravan-like, long- 
drawn-out train coming up over the hill to the trading post. 
According to the Indian custom, they rode in single file; the 
men first, dressed in their best, and appearing grave and digni- 
fied, followed by the gay squaws, almost every one with a 
papoose on her back, and one before her in the saddle. The 


squaws rode like the men and looked after the pack horses, 
which were loaded with hides intended for exchange, and mis- 
cellaneous household equipment. A halt was called in the neigh- 
borhood of the post, and the squaws began at once to cut tree 
branches for building the tents. 

Afterward the skins for sale were brought into the store, 
weighed, and their value determined. Goods to a corresponding 
amount were chosen by the Indians. Ordinarily such a visit 
to the trading house occupies several days and has the same 
happy significance to the Indians as the annual fairs in the 
German cities have for our German country people. 

For a week Roemer stayed at the trading post while his 
companion, Mr. Torrey, set out for the tiny village of Dallas 
on the Trinity, to be gone about eight days. Since this route 
was largely over prairie, Roemer chose to accept the invita- 
tion of the gunsmith at the trading post, Cockswell, to accom- 
pany him on a visit to the Caddo village at the mouth of 
Nolands River, about sixty miles up the Brazos in the north- 
west part of present Hill County. In their saddlebags they 
took provisions for a sojourn of several days in the wilderness 
— coffee, salt, and biscuit; and, armed with rifles, set out on 
their journey. As Cockswell was known to practically all of 
the Indians of that region, he and Roemer apprehended little 
danger. It took two days' traveling to reach the Caddo vil- 
lage. On the second day they came upon several herds of 
three to four hundred buffalo each, grazing over the plain. 
The travelers were now near their destination. 

About sunset, after a ride of some thirty miles [Roemer 
continues], from the top of a hill we saw lying before us the 
end of our journey, the Caddo village. No more suitable and 
entrancing place could have been chosen by the red sons of the 
wilderness for their settlement. The village lay within a small 
level plain about two miles long, which is bordered on one side 
by the marginal forest of the Brazos and on all other sides by 
the steep hills. Right across this plain flows a handsome little 
brook over a smooth bed of limestone. Along the bank stood 
several ancient live-oaks. On both sides of the brook the huts of 


the Indians were scattered in picturesque disorder over the 
plain, each with its own field of maize. Between the hills on 
which we stood and the village itself about one thousand head 
of horses were grazing on the plain. Several naked Indian 
boys with long hair ran yelling back and forth among them. 
We descended to the village. We were everywhere greeted in 
a friendly fashion by the inhabitants at the various huts which 
we passed ; for the Indians all knew my companion. Although 
I should have liked to study the domestic economy of the Indian 
by direct observation, we declined the repeated invitations to 
sleep in one of the huts. We shrank from too close contact 
with the tormenting little insect which inhabits every Indian 
dwelling, and preferred to spread our blankets under a live-oak 
on the bank of the creek. Before we lay down to sleep, we 
received a visit from several Indian women, who brought us 
watermelons as a present, and received glass beads from us in 

Next day Roemer was able to, inspect the village more closely. 

The dwelling of each family [he reported] consists of several 
huts of diverse form. One of these is always larger than the 
others, about fifteen feet high, cone-shaped, and closed except 
for a narrow opening at the ground. As it is thatched with 
long grass, at a distance it looks like a haystack. It is the 
general abode during wet and cold weather. Near this principal 
building stand one or more open huts, consisting of a grass- 
covered weather-roof supported by four uprights, under which, 
and at a distance of about two feet from the ground, is a hori- 
zontal lattice-work platform woven from brush. On this plat- 
form the men and women squat during the warm hours of the 
day. . . . Finally, there is a third sort of hut which serves for 
storing of supplies, and which is nothing but an oven-like, 
grass-covered cage supported on four high posts. . . . 

Notwithstanding the early hour, we found all of the denizens 
of the first hut we entered, from the oldest to the youngest, 
engaged in eating under-ripe watermelons. In all the other huts 
we found the same condition. It actually appears that at this 
time of the year [August 11] watermelons comprise almost the 
sole food of the Indians, and in incredible amounts. Every- 
where we found the Indians in the happiest humor, and as my 
companion assured me, these sons of nature always live among 
themselves in the best relations; quarreling and dissension are 
almost unknown. 


Roemer and Cockswell spent the day — Tuesday — in inspect- 
ing the Caddo village, and started the next morning on their 
return to the trading post. Roemer suffered an attack of 
fever on Wednesday morning, and it continued throughout 
the day-and-a-half trip. On their arrival he was utterly ex- 
hausted, and for ten days lay in a semi-delirium. All medica- 
ments available at the post failed to break the fever. On the 
tenth ,day, Mr. Torrey, who in the meantime had returned 
from his visit to Dallas, declared that he was compelled by 
business to leave the next morning for New Braunfels. Ac- 
cordingly, although Roemer was so weak he had to be lifted 
into the .saddle, he set out at daybreak with Torrey. The 
fresh morning air soon revived him, and with every succeed- 
ing hour his strength increased. That day they reached the 
falls of the Brazos in Falls County, not far from present Mar- 
lin, and crossing the river, passed the night there. The second 
night they spent with Mr. Benjamin Bryant, a slave-holding 
farmer on the Little River. The third night was spent in the 
open on the San Gabriel. The next morning, Thursday, the 
twenty-seventh, they had breakfast with a Yankee farmer 
who had been living for ten years in the country along Brushy 
Creek, near present Round Rock. This farmer declared in 
tones of unbearable exasperation that he was going to leave 
his present farm and move higher up the river. "The country 
is getting too crowded, I can not live here any longer ! The 
nearest fellow lives only ten miles from here!" he explained 
to Torrey. The travelers ate dinner at the town of Austin 
and reached home the next day. Roemer had been gone five 
weeks. "The trip just ended has convinced me," he wrote, 
"that; no region in the eastern part of the land can compare in 
. . . beauty and natural advantages with the location of the 
German settlements on the beautiful Comal." 

During the interval between his return from Torrey's Trad- 
ing Post on August 28, 1846, and the middle of January, 1847, 


Roemer was half -incapacitated at New Braunfels. A recur- 
rence of malarial fever, followed in early October by an attack 
of dysentery, laid the foundation for a long period of illness 
from .which he did not recover before the third of November. 
On that day he was able to take a ride down the Guadalupe, 
where he found a band of Delaware Indians who had been 
there for some time engaged in hunting. 

As the reader will recall, things had not gone well in the 
Colony during the summer of 1846. At the upper settlement, 
Fredericksburg, one-fifth of the population had died of fever 
and dysentery. There had been 321 deaths at Carlshafen, 
and 400 at New Braunfels. Then, too, the Indians were 
threatening. In the fall of that year, a German adventurer, 
the director of the upper settlement, nine parts coward, had 
made an unauthorized expedition into the grant to the north of 
Fredericksburg. He had not dared to cross the Llano River, 
but had succeeded in arousing the suspicion and resentment 
of the Indians. Returning home, he had reported to Meuse- 
bach that across the Llano were many thousands of hostile 

That fearless leader laid plans for an expedition into the 
Indian country to conclude a treaty of peace ; and on January 
14, 1847, a mounted company set out from New Braunfels for 
Fredericksburg and the Indian country. Six days later, 
Roemer himself set out for Fredericksburg, arriving there on 
the twenty-fourth of January. For twelve days he remained 
in the vicinity of the town, searching the ravines and gullies 
of that virgin field for Cretaceous fossils, of which there was 
an abundance. 

On February 5, Major R. S. Neighbors, United States 
Agent for Indian Affairs at Austin, came with a message 
from Governor J. Pinckney Henderson of Texas begging 
Meusebach to call off his proposed mission to the Indians ; or, 
if he would not do that, at least to accept the good offices of 


Major Neighbors and an accompanying half -civilized Dela- 
ware chief and interpreter, Jim Shaw, in the visit to the Co- 
manches. Roemer, glad of an opportunity to see more of the 
Indians under favorable circumstances, attached himself to 
Major Neighbors, and together they set out to overtake Meuse- 
bach and his train. On February 10, Neighbors and his com- 
pany came upon Meusebach's expedition encamped with the 
Indians at a pleasant place in a bend of the San Saba. Meuse- 
bach had been met several miles from the San Saba valley by 
a deputation of Comanches, who had asked the nature of his 
mission. His courageous and open disarmament of his com- 
pany, by the discharging of their rifles, had won the regard 
and friendly hearing of the Indians, and things had proceeded 
well upon the way to settlement when Neighbors and his com- 
panions arrived. 

Roemer gives a charming picture of the camp on the San 
Saba : the Germans and Indians meeting in friendly groups ; 
the white captive who could not be persuaded to leave the 
Indian life and go back to his brother in Austin ; the handsome 
twelve-year-old son of a former chief, who had been captured 
in the Council House Fight at San Antonio, and during his 
sojourn with the whites had learned English; and the camp 
of the Indians on the other side of the clear, swift-running 
San Saba. In the evening the Germans sat about their camp- 
fires with their Indian acquaintances, and while the Germans 
sang their songs of home and fatherland, the Indians showed 
their friendliness by singing some of their own (to European 
ears) monotonous and unmelodious music. 

Regarding the chief purposes of the mission — the making 
of a treaty of peace with the Indians, and arrangements for 
the purchase of land from them — Roemer wrote : 

Early this morning [February 11, 1847] occurred the council 
with the Indian chiefs. We seated ourselves in a circle on 
skins that were spread in Meusebach's tent, and Jim Shaw, our 


Delaware guide . . . was the interpreter. First, before busi- 
ness was opened, came the passing of the pipe of peace twice 
around the circle, from which everyone took two or three puffs. 
The speeches on both sides were carried on in short, separate 
sentences, each of which was immediately translated by the 
interpreter. Baron von Meusebach first said to the chiefs that 
'he had come with his people upon the white path' (that is, the 
path of peace) 'in order to see their land and to greet them as 
friends. They would, on their part, be received by his people 
in a friendly way when they came down to the towns below. 
They wanted now to go up the river to see the Old Spanish Fort 
on the San Saba. When he returned, he wished for a council 
with the great chiefs, Santa Anna, Buffalo Hump, and Old 
Owl, in order to open up to them more fully what his purpose 

One of the chiefs responded to this with great dignity as 
follows : 'The hearts of his people had been disturbed when 
they had seen the many strange people, who came unannounced, 
and whose purposes they had not known ; now, since they knew 
that they had come as friends, and what they wished, all would 
be well.' 

Thereupon a number of presents were laid down before the 
most renowned chiefs, who distributed them among the other 
chiefs and the braves. The chiefs received red and blue woolen 
blankets, thick brass wire for making bracelets, calico for shirts, 
and tobacco. To the braves were given span- wide strips of red 
and blue cloth for the characteristic Indian breech-clouts, and 
some tobacco. 

Meusebach's party then journeyed to the Old Fort on the San 
Saba, and returned on the last day of February to the Co- 
manche camp. 

At noon, on the first of March [Roemer continues], the 
council agreed upon with the chiefs took place. A great circle 
of buffalo skins was laid out on the ground in front of our tent, 
and on this, on one side, the chiefs and the most renowned 
warriors seated themselves with von Meusebach, our interpreter, 
Jim Shaw, Major Neighbors, and several others of our com- 
pany. The three chiefs, who stood at the head of the Comanche 
bands roaming the frontiers of inhabited Texas, sat there, very 
grave and dignified. In appearance they were very diverse. 


Old Owl, the political chief, was a little old man who appeared 
very undistinguished in his dirty cotton jacket and had a crafty, 
diplomatic countenance. Quite different from him was the 
war-chief, Santa Anna, a powerfully built man with a benev- 
olent and lively expression of countenance. Finally, the third 
chief, Buffalo Hump, furnished a picture of the true, unadul- 
terated North American Indian. Unlike the majority of his 
tribe, he scorned European dress. With his upper body naked, 
a buffalo skin about his hips, yellow brass rings on his arms, 
a string of beads about his neck, and his long, lank, black hair 
hanging down, he sat there with the apathetic expression (as 
it seems to a European) of the North American savage. He 
drew especial attention to himself because in previous years 
he had distinguished himself for daring and bravery in many 
engagements with the Texans. 

As soon as the council began, the wives and children of the 
braves, who previously had besieged us closely, retired to a 
respectful distance, and formed a bright decoration during the 
entire conference. In the middle of the circle lay a pile of 
tobacco and a pipe. One of the Indians took the latter, filled 
it with tobacco, lighted it, took two puffs, and passed it around 
the circle. Twice the pipe of peace made the rounds, in com- 
plete silence ; then von Meusebach made through the interpreter 
the following propositions : The Comanches should permit the 
Germans to form a settlement on the Llano, and they should 
let all of the land lying northward be surveyed — especially that 
on the San Saba. In consideration of this, the Comanches 
should receive, at a council to be held in Fredericksburg two 
months hence, gifts to the value of one thousand Spanish dol- 
lars; and they should be treated as friends as often as they 
visited the German settlements.' 

After this speech the chiefs for a time counseled softly to- 
gether, and then Old Owl replied that they would have to let 
the proposals lie over and declare themselves concerning them 
early next morning. . . . Toward noon next day the second 
meeting with the chiefs took place. Matters proceeded in the 
same manner as described above. After several colloquies back 
and forth, such as are natural with the mistrustful, wary mind 
of the Indian, the propositions laid down by von Meusebach 
the day before were accepted. The council ended with mutual 
embraces, in which the Comanches sought to show the degree 
of their friendship by the heartiness of their hugs, and with 


a meal of venison and rice which von Meusebach had had pre- 
pared for the Indians. 

Sunday, March 7, saw the party back again in Fredericks- 
burg after an absence of twenty-nine days. Although 
Roemer's companions soon set out on the return to New 
Braunfels, he remained at Fredericksburg for nearly a month 
making a further study of the Cretaceous rocks of that region 
and putting together his notes on the San Saba expedition. 
There were many records of mammals from the San Saba 
country. Prairie dogs, Roemer reported, occurred in immense 
"towns" in that region, but only rarely in the other parts of 
Texas that he visited ; beaver were not rare on the Llano and 
the San Saba ; and javelinas, which occurred in small herds in 
the woods at the margin of the Comal and Guadalupe at New 
Braunfels, were especially abundant on the San Saba. Roe- 
mer had also been fortunate in his geological studies, and at 
several places on the San Saba had found exposures of Cam- 
brian limestone, with characteristic trilobite remains. Alto- 
gether it had been a most profitable journey to "that little- 
known, almost mythical wonderland, with which every Texas 
settler at that time associated the idea of inexhaustible fertil- 
ity and loveliness, as well as a wealth of noble metals." 

Roemer returned to New Braunfels on Monday, the fifth 
of April. He had many things yet to do before his departure 
from Texas. There were the collections, very numerous and 
rich in scientific objects of great value, that must be packed 
for shipment across the sea. It was not before the twenty- 
third, of the month that this packing was completed, and the 
numerous boxes forwarded. On that day Roemer made his 
farewells to New Braunfels. He had seen it take shape : in- 
deed, it had almost grown from a village into a town during 
his months in Texas. 

Down Seguin Street went the stage, over the ford of the 
Guadalupe, past houses of friends he was now leaving behind. 


There were the falls of the Guadalupe, where on warm eve- 
nings he had collected Cretaceous fossils, notably his new 
echinoderms and Nautilus, at the same time that he enjoyed 
the coolness of the river. All these familiar objects and places 
he passed now for the last time. The party reached Seguin at 
sunset, and spent the night there. The second night found 
them at Gonzales, the town looking as wretched as ever. 
About noon on Sunday they reached Lagrange. 

The Texas prairies were a blaze of color. Among the flow- 
ers that Roemer records as having been collected on the re- 
turn journey were the bluebonnet, which covered the hills 
with color; the pink milkwort, Poly gala incarnata; different 
species of the beard-tongue, Pentstemon; evening primroses; 
and a morning-glory, Convolvulus affinis. 

The arrangements for travel were very poor. Hotel accom- 
modations in the days of the Republic had not improved much 
beyond the stage that Bishop Waugh reported when he de- 
scribed the "hotel" on the Houston Prairie in 1841 : 

Figure to yourself ... a habitation, situated in a prairie, 
twelve miles distant from the nearest house on the road, either 
in front or in rear — inhabited by two famillies [sic], — built 
of small logs, some but little thicker than one's arm — in the 
form of a small pen at either end, with an open center — earthen 
floors — with two sheds formed of the rudest materials, and 
after the rudest model — exposed at tops, and ends, to the wind 
and rain — with something resembling a bed in each of the 
chambers, where the inmates were about as much exposed to 
the view of one another, and of the weather, as they would have 
been in the absence of the house itself; and you will be able to 
form a tolerably correct idea of this hotel of the prairie. The 
only thing which indicated civilization was a large pier looking 
glass, which strangely contrasted with the wall of the bed- 
chamber which it so extensively covered. 

At Lagrange, the coach in which Roemer was traveling 
made connection with the stage from Austin, with an increase 
in passengers. Roemer gives a Chaucerian description of all 


his fellow-travelers: the garrulous elderly Catholic priest on 
his way to St. Louis; the German woman whose Ameri- 
canization was no less than terrific; the well-to-do Irish 
merchant from Austin who was taking his son to school at 
New Orleans; the cultured young advocate returning to his 
home in Galveston after pleading a case before the Supreme 
Court in Austin; a young druggist, formerly a bartender at 
New Braunfels, who was going to set up shop as a physician 
at Washington-on-the-Brazos ; and others. But this passage 
must be read to be enjoyed. I include an abbreviated account 
of the rest of the journey to Houston: 

We reached [Washington] in the afternoon [April 25, 
1847], — among those places called towns in Texas, the most 
miserable and wretched that I had ever seen. Washington was 
for some time the seat of government of the Republic of Texas, 
and hence a number of rather large houses were built here. 
Several manufacturing establishments were located here, so 
that the population amounted to about a thousand. Subse- 
quently, the seat of government was removed to Austin, and 
this sealed the doom of Washington. ... I saw several large 
houses standing empty, with shattered window panes, shingles 
missing, and planks torn loose and hanging down; and those 
houses still occupied seemed to enjoy no greater care for their 
preservation. . . . Not far from Washington we crossed the 
Brazos in a ferry, and then entered the broad, forested Brazos 
bottom. The road here was bottomless, and we proceeded but 
slowly. Moreover, a Texas thunderstorm, long threatening, 
now burst upon us. Since the stage was completely uncovered, 
I sought to protect myself as much as possible with my cloak 
and a buffalo robe, but that helped me only a little, for the 
attentive merchant from Austin held over his lady a great 
umbrella in such a manner that the water fell in cascades upon 
unlucky me. All remonstrances, even calling attention to my 
fever-ridden condition, having proved unavailing (since it was 
a question of ''protecting a lady from the rain"), I resigned 
myself with Christian fortitude to the inevitable. In this situa- 
tion, the demand of the driver that all the male passengers alight 
and walk until we came to better roads, since the mud was too 
deep to permit the passing of a loaded coach, had no terror for 


me. We waded a half -hour through mud a foot deep before 
the coachman declared that the road was getting better, and 
told us to get in again. In the meantime, it had become quite 
dark. Nevertheless, our coachman attempted to make up the 
time lost in the Brazos bottom by driving his horses as fast as 
they would go. The result was that as we passed over a little 
boggy creek, the wheels on one side went off the corduroy 
crossing into the mud, and everything came to a standstill. 
The stage now had to be completely unloaded, and since the 
jaded horses could not pull it out of the mud, we had to get 
help from a plantation several miles distant. After a long time 
the owner of the plantation came with half a dozen Negroes, 
who easily righted us. Late in the night we reached the station 
at which we were to stop. It was a large, stately manor, where 
the contractor of the whole Texas stage-coach system lived. 
By his eagerness to help and his friendliness he tried to make 
us forget the difficulties we had encountered, and assured us 
that good covered post-coaches for all the routes had already 
been ordered from the northern states. This bit of news was 
joyful to me — at least in the interest of those who should ride 
in the future. A good night's rest, for which I most longed, 
was unfortunately not to be thought of here. . . . The diffi- 
culties of the journey, however, were over, for next morning, 
after a good breakfast, we climbed into an excellent red "Troy 
coach,' ' . . . and in it journeyed without difficulty the fifty 
remaining miles to Houston, over the monotonous, treeless 
Houston Prairie, whose level surface was unbroken by the 
slightest elevation. We arrived late in the evening. After I 
had driven here and there for more than a year on the extreme 
frontier of civilization, the town, with its spacious hotel, its 
large, brightly-lighted, decorated barrooms and separate billiard 
rooms, seemed very grand and glittering. 

On April 28 Roemer reached Galveston after a twelve-hour 
passage, and here remained for a week, studying the great 
droves of fiddler-crabs that scuttled over the muddy beaches ; 
gathering starfishes and mollusks (of which he found several 
new species) ; observing the birds, still present in great num- 
bers ; and hunting raccoons, which he called, German that he 
was, "washing-bears/' He also visited the beautiful sand- 


beach on the seaward side, which even then bade fair to be- 
come a renowned bathing beach. 

But the end was at hand, and Roemer must take leave of 
Texas : 

On May 7 [1847], the long-expected steamer Yacht ap- 
peared, and on the eighth I took passage on it for New Orleans. 
When the strong tremor of the ship indicated that we had 
crossed the harbor-bar, and when, soon thereafter, the land of 
the narrow island [of Galveston] appeared only as a low-lying 
streak, I felt that it was time to say farewell to Texas. During 
my stay of more than a year I had grown to love the beautiful 
land of meadows, to which belongs a great future. It moved 
me to sorrow that I must say farewell to the land forever. To 
me there still remain rich and pleasant memories; and from 
afar I shall always follow with lively interest the further de- 
velopment of the country. May its broad, green prairies be- 
come the habitation of a great and happy people ! 

Science had been born anew in Texas. 

»> >» >» » > > » »> »> »> >XC- «<■ g g- «c- <«■ c» <« ■ < « ■ 3Cfr 


IT is early autumn in Connecticut. Over the countryside 
hangs a soft blue haze ; goldenrod and blazing-star bloom 
in the sandy roadside places, and in the moist meadows, asters 
and gentians. Down the dusty road from Hartford to New 
Haven the stage and mail-coach makes its way, drawn by 
sweating, panting horses. There are plenty of passengers, for 
this is a Monday, and in Connecticut of the eighteen-thirties 
one waits until the Sabbath is past before setting out on a 
journey. Hence the well-loaded coach, the full boot, the 
horses steaming. 

Today, as always on Mondays, the coach is late. Early 
evening draws on, dusk and candle-light. The stage finally 
pulls up at the Yale green in New Haven, graced with its 
noble elms and two churches worthy of the genius of a Chris- 
topher Wren. Bearded lads of twenty with rough homespun 
clothes and light baggage descend, clearly boys who are com- 
ing down to Yale to take the entrance examinations. Tomor- 
row — Tuesday, September 13, 1831 — these examinations are 
to be held in the gallery of the old chapel. Among the ex- 
aminers will be the gracious, handsome, venerable Silliman; 
pungent-witted and sharp-tongued Kingsley; Olmsted the 
physicist, who is destined to be the first American astronomer 
to observe Halley's comet ; F. A. P. Barnard, later to be con- 
nected with Columbia College; Henry Durant, who will be- 
come in after years president of the University of California ; 
Horace Bushnell ; and William A. Larned. 



Two lads from the up-country are of particular interest. 
On first sight they appear of about the same age, say twenty. 
Good friends, apparently, well-worn to each other's moods and 
needs. One is tall and fair, with a graceful and debonair 
manner, the other short, sturdy, with awkward body, and 
wit a little thick. Stubbornness, earnestness, wistfulness are 
written large in his face. His name is Charles Wright, and he 
comes from Wethersfield. He looks up to his companion, 
Samuel Galpin, from the same village, with an air of depend- 
ence that obliterates the year of difference in their ages. Per- 
haps he resents a little Galpin's easiness. They have prepared 
for college together in the Wethersfield Grammar School 
under a Yalensian, Sherman Finch, of the class of 1828. 
Now they have come to New Haven for the essay of their 
lives. Great things hang upon the issue of tomorrow. 

At this time Yale is in her one-hundred-and-thirtieth year 
of training for leadership. Her five hundred men are drawn 
from the length and breadth of the Union. Old Yale men 
occupy places of trust and influence in Church and State. In 
New England, where the only aristocracy is that of intellect, 
young men like Wright and Galpin zealously seek to win the 
accolade of learning, some of them coming from homes of 
poverty that are barely able to spare the scant two hundred 
dollars for a year's expenses at Yale. Hopefully, humbly 
they gather at the school on the day before Commencement, 
eager to gain a place on her rolls. 

That Tuesday morning was an experience for the ninety- 
odd boys who came up for examination. Professor Silliman, 
teacher of chemistry and geology, affectionately known to 
two generations of Yale men not as the father of American 
chemistry but as "Uncle Ben," read all the candidates' letters 
of recommendation, and put the men at ease. Entrance re- 
quirements were simple in those days, being confined largely 
to Latin, mathematics, grammar, some geography, and occa- 


sionally Greek. When the examinations were over, the newly- 
accepted matriculates strolled over the campus, dotted with 
six buildings, among which Old South Middle College, or 
Connecticut Hall, held the attention as it still does. 

In the evening two great events, long remembered, took 
place : the first, an address by the venerable Chancellor James 
Kent of New York, who delivered a Phi Beta Kappa address 
devoted to the ancient glories of the college. Still later in the 
same evening the new students attended a meeting of the 
alumni, at which the first campaign for an endowment of 
$100,000 was launched. And so to bed, for the greater 
glories of Commencement Day still lay before them. 

At daybreak they were wakened by the ringing of all the 
church bells. Soon people came pouring into the town from 
all quarters, for Commencement Day was the event of the 
year, with orations and addresses galore. The class of 1831 
already gave promise of great things : it included such men as 
Noah Porter, who was to be forty-six years at Yale, first as 
professor and later as president ; Lyman H. Atwater, a future 
professor at Princeton; and Trusten Polk, to be "before-the- 
war" Governor of Missouri. These three were among the 
leaders of the class elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa, 
and wore the green ribbon which was proper on such occa- 

At the end of the Commencement ceremonies came the con- 
ferring of the degrees, with President Jeremiah Day standing 
gownless in a long dress coat with white collar and stock, his 
head surmounted by a very tall, tile-like hat of beaver. With 
studied grace he tipped his hat to each candidate, as for each 
he pronounced the words of the Latin formula: ". . . omnia 
jura et privilegia." In the heart of every neophyte was born 
the determination also to become a son of Yale. To Charles 
Wright the impulse must have come with redoubled force. 
Many members of his family and many of his relatives — the 


Butlers, Demings, Goodriches, Standishes, Welleses, Curtises, 
and Bucks of Wethersfield and vicinity — had taken degrees 
at Yale. Two of Charles Wright's relatives, Elizur Wright, 
father and son, had also been elected to Phi Beta Kappa. It 
would be no wild flight of the imagination to see the new 
matriculate, stirred by the greatness of the day and by his 
family tradition, making a great resolve that the green ribbon 
should be his in another four years. Yet it would have been 
characteristic of Charles Wright if the burning resolution 
had been accompanied by a sudden cold doubt, as he asked 
himself whether he was worthy to carry on in the name of his 

Commencement over, Wright and Galpin, like the other new 
matriculates, returned to their homes, to assemble again six 
weeks later for the opening of the school year. Their careers 
had begun. 

Fifty years after the events just described, Thomas 
Thatcher, a grave Yale professor then grown old, wrote to 
two distinguished American professors of botany for in- 
formation to be used in a history of the class of 1835. "What 
can you tell me of the work that Charles Wright has done in 
his chosen field?" was the burden of the letters. Professor 
Asa Gray of Harvard University, the dean and peerless leader 
of American botanists, wrote in reply : 

You cannot over-estimate the services which Charles Wright 
has rendered to Botany. He has been not only a capital and 
indefatigable explorer and collector, but also an acute observer. 
I have myself profited not a little by his observations and critical 
remarks. . . . Mr. Wright's name is frequent and imperishable 
in the record of Science. He will always be known as having 
clone very much to develop the Botany of Texas, New Mexico, 
and Arizona, then of Japan and other parts of N. E. Asia, and 
also of Cuba and San Domingo. Very few have done so much 
in such various quarters of the world ; and hardly any collectors 
have been more helpful to the botanists of this generation. 


Professor Daniel C. Eaton, botanist of Yale, wrote : 

As a collector of plants from the Arctic regions to the Torrid 
. . . and as an acute and diligent observer of plants in their 
native regions, he stands almost without an equal; Sir Joseph 
Hooker being the only equal I can think of. . . . He has laid 
the botanical world under great and lasting obligations. 

And the famous German-American botanist, George Engel- 
mann of St. Louis, in the course of his description of 
Opuntia wrightii, a new species of cactus discovered by 
Wright, says that now it "bears a name which ... is forever 
inseparably connected with the botany of our Southern 
Boundary. " 

An investigation of the botanical literature of the South- 
west will show important papers based on collections made by 
Wright during the years 1844-1852 — papers by Engelmann 
and others, and especially those by Professor Asa Gray, in his 
Plantce Wrightiance, published in two thick quarto volumes 
by the Smithsonian Institution in its Contributions to Knowl- 
edge. Wright discovered many hundreds of new species of 
plants not only in the Southwest, but also, as botanist with 
the Ringgold Expedition, in many other parts of the world; 
and eminent botanists in many lands sought to honor him by 
giving new species of plants his name. It would be impossible 
to trace the development of our knowledge of the natural his- 
tory of the Southwestern frontier without giving an im- 
portant place to this man. 

Wright came into Texas in 1837, just after the state had 
won its independence ; he lived here through the period of the 
Republic, through annexation, and through the Mexican War ; 
he worked on the Boundary Survey Commission of the United 
States, both as botanist and as surveyor ; he was a professor 
in the first institution of higher learning established in Texas, 
the short-lived Rutersville College. On any one of these 
scores Wright's life would be of significance. Yet though he 


lived in all of these movements, he was not driven by them. 
He came into eastern Texas when it was a turbulent section, 
dominated by a group of horse-thieves and lawless land- 
speculators, and still retained his hold on himself. He con- 
sorted with a friend and fellow-botanist who was ruined by 
wine, women, and politics. Yet he was aloof from common 
temptation. His life seems to have been swayed by very 
simple and yet strange impulses: a love of nature, an eager- 
ness to discover new things, an impatience of physical idle- 
ness, an overmastering love of travel. These were the factors 
that contributed to his superlative attainments as a botanical 
collector. And yet the biographer who attempts to unravel 
Wright's nature, to find the sources of his inspiration, is 
baffled. One cannot say whence it came; only his works are 
open to the world. 

Charles Wright belonged to a family that had played a 
large role in the history of Connecticut, especially of Wethers- 
field. Numerous members of the family, at every advance- 
ment of the frontier, had gone out of Connecticut to help in 
the settlement and organization of embryo states. In fact, 
Connecticut seems to have been the point of dispersal of the 
family. In Wethersfield especially the Wrights have been 
numerous ever since the early days of the Republic. Thus 
in the census of 1790, eleven Wrights, heads of families, are 
enrolled from Wethersfield township in Hartford County 
alone. Thomas Wright, the immigrant ancestor from whom 
Charles Wright was descended, was a member of the Mas- 
sachusetts Court of Assistants before the colonial government 
was established at Boston. He removed to Wethersfield in 
1639, and in the course of his life held several civil offices. 
His great-grandson Nathaniel Wright (1722-1796) was the 
grandfather of Charles Wright. 

The old Wright homestead on Jordan Lane in Wethersfield 
was the birthplace of the botanist. He was the son of mature 


age. His father, James Wright, a carpenter and joiner, had 
married late in life Mary, daughter of Elizur and Abigail 
(Deming) Goodrich. James Wright was then forty-eight; 
his wife was ten years his junior. To this couple were born 
four children, two boys and two girls. Charles, second of 
the children, was born October 29, 1811. His brother John, 
of whom he was inordinately fond, was two years his senior ; 
Abigail, the baby of the family, was five years his junior; 
while Mary Ann was three years younger. We see portrayed 
here the history of many a family in the intellectual aristoc- 
racy of New England: earnest, pious, contained, they built, 
upon a hard soil in an intemperate climate — despite constant 
warfare with the Indians — a tradition of government and a 
sobriety of civilization that were important elements in the 
founding of America. From such stock, with such traditions, 
was the botanist sprung. 

For most college-bred men, their campus days are a focus 
of sentiment which grows more and more intense as the col- 
lege years themselves recede into the past. It was not so with 
Charles Wright. When he was a student at Yale he was a 
shy, diffident lad who could be drawn out only by confidences. 
Among his classmates, he liked best — after Galpin — Butler, 
Gager, and Thatcher, but they were most amiable men, be- 
loved of all. Although every freshman at Yale was supposed 
to join one of the three literary societies devoted to composi- 
tion and declamation, Wright avoided such exercises. One 
does not wonder that a self-conscious boy with Wright's 
physical handicap — a moderate strabismus — was, in the cir- 
cumstances, somewhat retiring: many years later Wright's 
classmate Gardiner could still recall the "merciless barbarians" 
who acted as critics of the literary exercises. In after life, 
Wright recalled instead of literary activities his long rambles 
in the vicinity of New Haven on Wednesday and Saturday 
afternoons — solitary wanderings during which he did his 


first botanical collecting. From whom he learned his botany 
is unknown; Gray could not tell, after many years of ac- 
quaintance with Wright. It is possible, but not certain, that 
James Dwight Dana, the famous geologist, who was an upper- 
classman during Wright's first years at Yale, was his inspira- 
tion. Wright was the kind of boy likely to develop a silent, 
pitiable hero-worship of an older student. 

Yale College in Wright's day, while slender in resources, 
possessed an intellectual evangelism that is rare at the present 
time. As Gilman narrates in his biography of Dana : 

The college was then a very small institution, where every- 
thing was managed upon a simple and economical plan; but it 
represented the best traditions of New England, and gave its 
pupils a thorough training in Latin and Greek, and in mathe- 
matics, with an introduction to natural philosophy and astron- 
omy, as well as chemistry, mineralogy and geology. [President 
Jeremiah] Day, [Professor Benjamin] Silliman, and [Pro- 
fessor J. L.] Kingsley were the lights of the institution. The 
library was small, and could not have been very stimulating to 
a student of science. There was, however, an excellent cabinet 
of minerals . . . [which] had been brought to New Haven 
twenty years before, at the instance of Silliman, and was bought 
by the college, through his instrumentality, in 1825. 

Simple and rigorous living went with high thinking. 
Morning prayers were held in the chapel at five in the summer 
and six in the autumn and winter. Then followed the three 
regular recitations before breakfast, of Greek, Latin, and 
mathematics. Until 1842 students were required to take their 
meals in the college commons. Evening prayers were held at 
five. Until 1850, the Christmas season was included in "term 
time," which extended into the first, or even the second, week 
of January. The course of study offered few electives, and 
these only in the junior and senior years. The curriculum, 
with its preponderant emphasis on the classics, had little appeal 
for a mind with a bent for the methods and facts of science. 


Wright's career as a student of Yale began on Wednesday, 
October 26, 1831, with his attendance on evening prayers in 
the college chapel. The next day at eleven, together with the 
other members of his class, he went again to the chapel to 
recite the preface of Livy and get his chapel and class assign- 
ments. Under Professor Kingsley (whom Timothy D wight 
dubbed the "American Addison" and President Woolsey 
thought possessed an incomparable Latin style) Wright 
studied the Ays Poetica of Horace and Tacitus's Agricola 
and De Germania. His Greek he began under Theodore D. 
Woolsey and completed with Henry Durant, then a tutor at 

It was a wonderful group of classmates that Wright had. 
Among them were John Brocklesby, in later life a distin- 
guished mathematician and professor in Trinity College in 
Hartford; Samuel Ware Fisher, subsequently president of 
Hamilton College (1858-67); Alexander Smith Johnson, 
who became a famous New York jurist; and Thomas A. 
Thatcher, later professor of Latin at Yale (1842-86). It is 
interesting to note that fellow collegians during Wright's 
period of residence included, in addition to James Dwight 
Dana, such men as Josiah Clark, later of Smith College; 
George Edward Day, the Hebraist ; three leading professors- 
to-be at Western Reserve University, Emerson, St. John, and 
Seymour ; Alphonso Taf t, later Minister to Russia, and father 
of President Taf t ; and the future Chief Justice Morrison R. 
Waite. Truly a seminary of learning! Mere converse with 
such spirits was a liberal education. No wonder that when 
Wright came, almost immediately after graduation, to the 
raw frontier of the Southwest, he was acutely aware of the 
dearth of intellectual companionship. 

Timothy Dwight, in his Memories of Yale Life and Men, 
has given a compact picture of the Yale of his day — 1845 — 
and has left an account of freshman teaching. Conditions 


had not greatly changed in the ten years since Wright's 
graduation. Dwight recounts that 

An instructor's desk . . . was in one of the corners of each 
of the rooms, and the seats for the students were oak boards, 
painted white, extending along the walls which furnished the 
only back against which one could lean. The center of each 
room was vacant, except in certain cases, where three or four 
chairs, or one or two extra benches, were found necessary be- 
cause the numbers were so large that all could not otherwise 
be provided for. In these rooms we began to translate Livy, 
and the Odyssey of Homer, and to form the acquaintance of 
Day's Algebra. We translated the passages assigned us. We 
answered, according to our ability, the mathematical or other 
questions that were put to us by the instructors. It was useful 
work. It had its bearing on the future. But it was not very 
stimulating or calculated greatly to awaken enthusiasm. . . . 
It was no weak, second-rate, half -useless education, that was 
offered us. 

Thus may one see the pedagogical method used with Charles 
Wright, before "educational experts, teaching more and more 
about less and less" had revolutionized American education. 
It was this hard, crusty diet, "not very stimulating or tending 
to awaken enthusiasm/' that took these men and in dispropor- 
tionate numbers molded them for leadership. 

The first vacation in Wright's freshman year fell in mid- 
winter; and, like many another Yale student poor in pocket 
but rich in purpose, he walked the fifty miles home to Wethers- 
field through the snow. During the last week of June, cholera 
broke out at Yale. It was a part of the great cholera epidemic 
which swept the United States, Texas, and Mexico in the 
years 1832-33, and which Thomas Drummond was to en- 
counter in Velasco a year later. The students, terrified, re- 
turned to their homes, and classes were suspended at the 

Wright's sophomore year was uneventful. He studied 
rhetoric and oratory under Professor Chauncey A. Goodrich 


(son-in-law of Noah Webster, and a relative of Wright's), 
but no amount of forcible inspiration on Goodrich's part 
could make an orator of this pupil. The one bright spot of 
the year was the Phi Beta Kappa oration by Edward Everett 
on Class Day, August 21, 1833. On that occasion, after the 
introduction by Roger M. Sherman, a puff of wind blew 
Everett's manuscript out of his hand as he arose to speak. 
Rising to the occasion, without notes he 'launched forth upon 
a tide of oratory which held the rapt attention of the audience 
for nearly two hours." 

In his junior year Wright took Greek under Woolsey and 
natural philosophy and astronomy under Olmsted. He was 
fond of mathematics, surveying, and astronomy, although he 
neglected geology and mineralogy for botany. His interest 
in astronomy was greatly stimulated only a few weeks after he 
enrolled with Olmsted by the wonderfully brilliant meteoric 
shower of November 13, 1833, which burst upon his view 
as he was going to morning chapel, at five o'clock. "The 
heavens are falling! the heavens are falling!" cried the stu- 
dents. Strange how that phenomenon threw Olmsted into 
ecstasies and the Millerites into tantrums. 

At last the round of college work came to the final year, 
during which Wright studied metaphysics, ethics, and logic 
under President Day; political economy under Daggett; 
chemistry and geology under Silliman ; religion under Kings- 
ley and Fitch; and still more rhetoric under Goodrich. The 
long road seemed in retrospect but a short one; privation, 
dogged determination, self-denial, faithfulness had their re- 
ward. Charles Wright stood very straight before Jeremiah 
Day on August 19, 1835, and on his coat lapel was pinned a 
long green ribbon. 

Some weeks before Wright's graduation, he had been called 
into the president's room. In the light of Day's character, one 


can partially reconstruct the scene. Slowly, deliberately, pa- 
tiently, as though he were opening a matter of great diplo- 
matic consequences, this great man informed Wright : "I hold 
in my hand a communication addressed to me by a consider- 
able planter at Natchez, in our extreme southwest border state 
of Mississippi/' Day began. "He desires that I should 
recommend to him a young gentleman of scholarly attain- 
ments and character, of my confidence, to serve in the station 
of tutor for his children. The compensation is adequate ; the 
situation a very respectable one. Many of our young Yale 
graduates find it agreeable to accept such a station. Mr. 
Thomas Thatcher of your class goes to a similar office in 
Georgia, and it would afford me great pleasure if you could 
enable me to address to this gentleman my recommendation of 
you for this situation.'' Wright was glad to accept the place, 
and in due course of time was informed that his services were 
desired. He left Wethersfield in October, 1835, only a few 
weeks after his graduation, and taking the Mississippi River 
route, duly arrived in Natchez. 

President Day, kindly, gentle, benign, hardly knew into 
what a situation he had projected his "young gentleman of 
scholarly attainments and character." "Respectable," indeed ! 
At the time of Charles Wright's coming to Natchez, it had the 
most unenviable reputation of all the frontier towns of the 
Southwest. Dr. Anson Jones, in one of his memorandum 
books, has the following entry concerning Natchez under the 
date of August 1, 1838: "This place is so notoriously in- 
famous, that I had fancied it much larger, not expecting a spot 
so small could have held vice and profligacy enough to make 
it so distinguished. It must have been very much condensed." 
Further testimony to the reputation of Natchez for vice and 
outlawry may be found in other writings. Thus Robert 
Alexander, who in August, 1837, came to Texas to be a 
Methodist missionary with Dr. Martin Ruter and Littleton 


Fowler, found the Natchez station, to which he had been ap- 
pointed in 1836, one of the most difficult situations in the 
whole Southwest. 

As Wright entered into his work in this unsavory environ- 
ment, he found some comfort in the fact that his classmate 
Pettengill was near at hand as tutor to the children of a sugar 
planter of Louisiana. For two years Wright remained on 
the plantation near Natchez. In 1836, he persuaded his fel- 
low-villager and classmate Galpin to come to Natchez to teach 
in a select-school there. When the panic of 1837 came, in 
the financial crash that wrecked so many enterprises in 
Europe and America, Wright's employer failed in business, 
and Wright consequently lost his position. 

At this time the road to Texas was open. Texas was an 
independent republic; lands were cheap; "On to Texas!" was 
in the air, as many emigrants ruined in the financial disasters 
of the panic set out for the new country to retrieve the losses 
sustained in the old. Thus, in the spring of 1837, Charles 
Wright came to Texas. How he came and where he went is 
told by Professor Thatcher, the historian of Wright's class : 

His life in Texas began in 1837, when he went thither from 
the vicinity of Natchez, ''botanizing by the way." . . . For the 
first few years his headquarters were not far from the western 
boundary of Louisiana, [at Zavala] on the Neches River, from 
which position he made excursions — chiefly as a surveyor, at 
first, and subordinately as a botanist — in various directions up 
and down the river, and eastward to the Sabine [in present 
Angelina, Jasper, Tyler, and Newton counties]. He also spent 
some time in teaching. 

Whether or not he realized it at the time, Wright was 
destined to make Texas his home for the next fifteen years — 
if indeed, during his productive years as a botanist, Wright 
can be said to have had a home. It was a fruitful period for 
the advancement of knowledge of the botany of the South- 
west. Lindheimer, it will be recalled, was just then beginning 


to collect plants in the region of Houston and San Felipe. 
South of San Antonio and as far as Laredo and Matamoros, 
Jean Louis Berlandier had made, in 1828-34, his extensive col- 
lections for DeCandolle. Only a few years later Lindheimer 
would make with Roemer a collection of plants from the banks 
of the Guadalupe in Comal County that would show the world 
the richness of the Texan flora. Five years before Wright's 
arrival, Thomas Drummond had gathered seven hundred and 
fifty species of plants for Hooker in the Austin Grant. But 
all of this had been done in central and "southwestern" Texas. 
No collecting of note, besides Dr. M. C. Leavenworth's slight 
efforts, had been clone in eastern Texas. Hence Asa Gray, 
busily engaged in various magisterial works on American 
botany, received with something like delight a letter from 
Wright in eastern Texas in 1844. It will be better to let Gray 
recount the early experiences of Wright in the Naches coun- 
try, especially since he quotes from a manuscript autobio- 
graphy of Wright now lost. Gray says : 

[Wright made] his headquarters for two or three years [that 
is, until about 1840, when he went to Town Bluff, a now- 
deserted village in Tyler County] at a place called Zavalla, on 
the Neches [in present Angelina County] ; he occupied himself 
with land surveying, explored the surrounding country, "learned 
to dress deerskins after the manner of the Indians, and to make 
moccasins and leggins," "became a pretty fair deer hunter," 
and inured himself to the various hardships of a frontier life 
at that period. When the business of surveying fell off he took 
again to teaching; and in the year 1844, he opened a botanical 
correspondence with the present writer, sending an interesting 
collection of the plants of Eastern Texas to Cambridge. 

The correspondence thus begun was to have consequences 
of the most far-reaching importance for both Wright and 
Gray. Wright's first letter, now lost, was sent to Gray some- 
time in the spring of 1844; Gray's letter of reply, also lost, 
was dated June 21 of that year. All the letters that passed 


subsequently between them are carefully preserved in the 
Gray Herbarium of Harvard University, and from them we 
are able to reconstruct all of Charles Wright's botanical 
travels in Texas. Dr. E. 0. Wooton made a careful collation 
of Wright's field notes of Texas collections preserved in the 
Gray Herbarium, which has aided in the interpretation of his 
trips and collections. 

Two sorts of observers have written of the frontier. There 
have been such perfect examples of the snob as, say, Mrs. 
Trollope from across the water, or our own Timothy Dwight, 
once president of Yale. On the other hand, there have been 
those like the historian Turner, who have looked beneath the 
lawlessness of pioneer life, which in the nature of things 
must be only temporary, to the final effects of the concourse 
on the frontier of active, restless, daring minds hungering for 
freedom. In his Travels President Dwight gives a classic 
picture of the frontier of Vermont in the first decade of the 
nineteenth century, a picture strangely reminiscent of the 
descriptions of Texas current in the 'forties. Without doubt 
Dwight's picture is correct in two dimensions, but it is funda- 
mentally false in view of the fact that it neglects the third 
dimension, the whence and whither of the situation. For Mr. 
Dwight never learned that history is a dynamic and not a 
static thing. The passage is as follows : 

These men [the Vermont frontiersmen] cannot live in reg- 
ular society. They are too idle, too talkative, too passionate, 
too prodigal, and too shiftless to acquire either property or 
character. They are impatient of the restraints of law, reli- 
gion, and morality; grumble about the taxes, by which rulers, 
ministers, and school-masters, are supported; and complain in- 
cessantly as well as bitterly, of the extortions of mechanics, 
farmers, merchants, and physicians, to whom they are always 
indebted. At the same time they are usually possessed, in their 
own view, of uncommon wisdom; understand medical science, 


politics, and religion, better than those, who have studied them 
through life; and although they manage their own concerns 
worse than other men, feel perfectly satisfied, that they could 
manage those of the nation far better than the agents, to whom 
they are committed by the public. After displaying their own 
talents and worth ; after exposing the injustice of the commu- 
nity in neglecting to invest persons of such merit with public 
offices ; in many an eloquent harangue, uttered by many a 
kitchen fire, in every blacksmith's shop, and in every corner 
of the streets; and finding all their efforts vain, they become 
at length discouraged; and under the pressure of poverty, the 
fear of a gaol, and the consciousness of public contempt, leave 
their native places, and betake themselves to the wilderness. 

On the other hand, as Turner points out, a certain disorder 
and confusion are to be expected in the coming together of 
large numbers of non-conformists (for most frontiersmen 
are preeminently recusant in temperament) ; and out of the 
intellectual tumult of the frontier, often accompanied by 
widespread emotional upsets of a religious character, came 
many intellectual traits of value in the American character. 
The frontier, particularly frontier Texas, where so many 
diverse racial stocks merged on a large scale — English, Ger- 
man, French, Czech, Irish, Spanish, and Mexican — served 
as a zone for a free admixture of ideas and bloods that has 
significance and promise for the future. I quote from Tur- 
ner's The Frontier in American History: 

I have refrained from dwelling on the lawless characteristics 
of the frontier, because they are sufficiently well known. The 
gambler and desperado, the regulators of the Carolinas and the 
vigilantes of California, are types of that line of scum that the 
waves of advancing civilization bore before them, and of the 
growth of spontaneous organs of authority where legal author- 
ity was absent. . . . The humor, bravery, and rude strength, 
as well as the vices of the frontier in its worst aspect, have left 
traces on American character, language, and literature, not soon 
to be effaced. . . . From the conditions of frontier life came 
intellectual traits of profound importance. . . . To the frontier 
the American intellect owes its striking characteristics. That 


coarseness and strength combined with acuteness and inquis- 
itiveness; that practical, inventive turn of mind, quick to find 
expedients; that masterful grasp of material things, lacking in 
the artistic but powerful to effect great ends; that restless, 
nervous energy, that dominant individualism, working for good 
and evil, and withal that buoyancy and exuberance which comes 
with freedom — these are the traits of the frontier. 

The same contrasting viewpoints that appear in discussions 
of the American frontier in general are evident in the many 
descriptions of early settlers in Texas, ranging from the 
highly laudatory account of Austin's Three Hundred by 
Thomas J. Pilgrim to the violently denunciatory screed of 
Francis C. Sheridan in the British Diplomatic Correspondence. 
Probably Charles Elliott, of all the British diplomatic agents, 
saw the Texans most clearly when he spoke of them as rough 
and wild, but possessing a constancy and courage that was 
admirable; scheming, enterprising, and invariably much bet- 
ter informed than the English immigrants. In sharp contrast 
with Joseph T. Crawford, who saw Texas as affording perfect 
security of persons and property, Sheridan reported unalloyed 
iniquity. I cannot refrain from quoting, for the sake of those 
Texans who never saw Texas through foreign eyes, the ac- 
count that Sheridan, a colonial secretary under Governor 
MacGregor of the Windward Islands, wrote to the acting 
private secretary to the Governor. The letter is dated July 

The population [of Texas] which may be estimated at 
150,000 Souls are chiefly Americans, a few Germans, and some 
English and Irish. — These are principally Bankrupts, Swindlers 
and Felons from the United States occasionally diversified with 
an Oasis of respectability which only renders the Desert of 
Villainy around more conspicuous by contrast. . . . Murder 
and every other Crime is of great frequency in Texas and the 
perpetrators escape with the greatest impunity. Many murders 
were committed in the Island of Galveston and in the Country 
during my stay on the Coast, and I could never learn that one 


offender was brought to justice. It is considered unsafe to 
walk through the Streets of the principal Towns without being 

The Sabine River country, which was at the borderline of 
Texas and the United States, was a region of extreme law- 
lessness. Morrell, surely no prejudiced observer, in his Flow- 
ers and Fruits in the Wilderness states that the Sabine River 
country was the refuge of thieves, robbers, counterfeiters, and 
murderers. From this region, he says, counterfeit Texas 
Land Office certificates were emitted by a band "composed of 
men of intelligence, and who were sworn enemies to morality 
and religion." The plots of the counterfeiters were uncovered 
in 1842, but the courts were afraid to execute justice, with the 
result that after a period of dreadful anarchy and confusion, 
an outraged people were led to adopt methods of elemental 
justice (or sometimes injustice) by forming bands of "regula- 
tors" and "moderators." 

During his first years in Texas, Wright was thus living in a 
region where life and property were never secure. Indian 
troubles brought on by Lamar's bombastic and extravagant 
reign contributed further to the hardships faced by the in- 
habitants of East Texas. Altogether, it was quite too much 
for a quiet, studious-minded man. There was but one bright 
spot in Wright's situation: his friendship for a physician, 
Dr. John A. Veatch, with whom he shared a love of botany. 
In later years, when Veatch organized a company during the 
Mexican War to defend Eagle Pass on the Rio Grande, he 
found it easy to persuade Wright to join his venture. 

In the summer of 1844 Wright made a business journey to 
Columbus, on the Colorado River, where a distant relative 
lived. On this occasion he determined to remove to the Colo- 
rado, and did so about the middle of April of the following 
year. Shortly afterward he learned that a vacancy existed at 


a little college located at Rutersville, near Lagrange, in Fay- 
ette County. 

Years afterward, Asa Gray, diverted by Charles Wright's 
facetious account of small things, stigmatized Rutersville as 
a "so-called college" — perhaps a natural remark from the 
direction of Cambridge. But in its environment, the College 
represented an intellectual adventure that was anything but 
contemptible. It was one of the innumerable ghostly throng 
of colleges that with the advancement of the frontier every- 
where sprang up, flourished, dwindled, and died. Usually 
they were the working out in stone or wood of some great 
man's ideal. This is not the place for a recital of the heroic 
work of the early Methodist missionary Martin Ruter, who 
came out to Texas at the age of fifty-three from the presidency 
of Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, and in his short year 
and a half of activity before he claimed the crown of martyr- 
dom traveled the length and breadth of early Texas, organiz- 
ing churches, establishing a ministry, and preaching the need 
and duty of a college. As the result of his preaching, after 
his early death in 1838 his followers founded a college in the 
newly-surveyed town of Rutersville, and called to the presi- 
dency the Reverend Chauncey Richardson, a former student 
of old Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Connecticut. A 
charter was sought and obtained in February, 1840. For 
some years the institution was prosperous, in spite of the 
border warfare of 1842, when the Mexican general, Adrian 
Woll, marched on San Antonio and captured it. But Indian 
warfare was a constant menace to the institution. Only five 
years before the time of Wright's coming to Rutersville Col- 
lege, the Indians had made attacks within hailing-distance of 
the school itself. An incident described in Wooten's History 
of Texas, which Wilbarger says occurred in the spring or 
summer of 1840, will throw some light on the character of 
the country and the obstacles facing those heroic souls who, in 


a land but half-wrested from the Indians, sought to carry the 
benefits of higher education into the wilderness : 

It often became the duty of the boys at school to mount their 
ponies and accompany their elders in pursuit of bands of In- 
dians. A notable instance occurred at Rutersville soon after 
the opening of the school. Two young boys in the neighbor- 
hood while hunting horses were attacked by Indians, and one of 
them, Henry Earthman, was killed ; his brother Fields escaped 
and brought the news to the school. 

The excited boys joined in the search for the body, which lay 
a mile away in a dreadfully mutilated state. The scalp had 
been taken, the hands cut off and thrown into the grass, and 
the heart, with ligaments unsevered, laid on one side of the 
body ; it was found to have a bullet in the center, and was, no 
doubt, exposed in a spirit of bravado to show how unerring 
was the aim of the red man. Nearly all the boys in the school, 
ranging from fourteen to sixteen, joined in the pursuit of the 
Indians, which lasted about six weeks. In fact, one of them 
still living says they did little but hunt Indians while at school 
at Rutersville prior to 1842. 

I have quoted this passage at some length so that the reader 
may understand into what sort of place Wright was going 
when, in the spring of 1845, he accepted "the assistant- 
principalship of the male department" of Rutersville College. 
The College, whatever its shortcomings, must be viewed as 
a courageous attempt to overcome the limitations of the 
frontier. It was the first institution of higher learning to 
open in Texas — and although its life was short, it accom- 
plished under frontier conditions a task that I doubt Harvard 
or Yale would have attempted. It never was large: in the 
fifteen years of its existence probably not more than fifteen 
hundred pupils, nearly all of sub-collegiate grade, attended it. 
But it was a noble dream whose fruition was commensurate 
with the possibilities of time and place. 

The first announcement of Wright's appointment to a posi- 
tion on the faculty of the College appeared in the Lagrange 


Intelligencer of May 19, 1845, and was followed by a similar 
notice in the National Register, of Washington, Texas, under 
date of June 26. Thus slowly did news travel the seventy 
intervening miles. Wright's work at the college began with 
the twelfth session, on July 21. It was an absorbing task: 
he had little time left to pursue his botanical work, after 
teaching — as he said — "everything from abecedarianism to 
the highest branches." During Wright's connection with 
Rutersville College his correspondence with Gray almost 
ceased. There could have been little comfort in comparing 
Rutersville with Cambridge. But other interests claimed 
Wright's attention, such as addresses on temperance before 
the Fayette County Temperance Society, teaching elocution 
to the students of the college, and (ironically enough) serving 
as president of the college literary society. When the Meth- 
odist Conference met in 1845, H. S. Thrall, the principal of 
the preparatory department of the College, was assigned to a 
circuit, and Wright was promoted to the principalship with the 
opening of the thirteenth session, on January 19, 1846. He 
was completely in charge of the department that spring while 
President Richardson traveled in Texas securing funds and 
attending the first General Conference of the Southern church 
at Petersburg, Virginia, in May, 1846. Overloaded with 
work, Wright sought in vain for an additional teacher in his 
department to lighten his burden. 

The last contemporary newspaper reference to Wright's 
work at Rutersville is to be found in the Intelligencer of 
July 14, 1846, in a scurrilous initialed note which stated that 
the college would be closed at the end of the thirteenth term, 
and intimated that the life of the institution had been sacri- 
ficed to Richardson's egotism because he discharged men of 
character and ability whom he considered "disruptive in- 
fluences." However that may be, Wright's correspondence 
indicates that his attitude toward the President was not nega- 


tive, but neutral. After the end of the school session, 
Wright continued in Rutersville for another year (until late 
October or early November, 1847) acting as a tutor in private 

Wright's work at Rutersville represents some of the first 
science field-work done in the schools of Texas. The La- 
grange Intelligencer stated, in the issue in which Wright's ap- 
pointment was announced, that "Young men who may desire 
to study surveying, geology, or botany, will have the oppor- 
tunity of accompanying one of the tutors on short excursions, 
for the purpose of learning these sciences practically as well 
as theoretically." The departments of mathematics and sci- 
ence in the College used such familiar old books as the Davies 
texts in higher mathematics; Norton's Astronomy; Turner's 
Chemistry; and Comstock's works on Geology, Mineralogy, 
and Botany. Most of the students, of course, were in the 
preparatory department, where they studied Anthon for 
Greek, Andrews & Stoddard for Latin, Cooper's Virgil, and 
so on. 

From November, 1847, to July of the following year, 
Wright taught in Austin, devoting all his spare time to bota- 
nizing. About the middle of July he set out from San Antonio 
for Eagle Pass to join his friend Veatch, whose company was 
posted there guarding the Mexican frontier. During July and 
August of 1848, while holding a commissary position in Cap- 
tain Veatch's company, Wright botanized on both sides of the 
Rio Grande, and returned to San Antonio about the middle 
of September. 

Here he found a letter from Gray inviting him to come 
north to Cambridge for the winter as a curator, to assist in 
sorting out his own rich collections which had been accumu- 
lating at the Gray Herbarium since 1845. With great 
alacrity he accepted the invitation and left for the north. Ar- 
riving at Wethersfield the third week in November, he shortly 


afterward went over to Cambridge, and spent the winter and 
spring partly there and partly at Wethersfield. During the 
winter of 1848-49, while Wright was with Gray, the United 
States War Department was making preparations for a sur- 
vey of the boundary between the United States and Mexico. 
Gray early conceived an ardent desire to have Wright ac- 
company this expedition as botanist, and wrote Engelmann 
concerning his plan. He was successful in gaining permis- 
sion from the Secretary of War for Wright to accompany 
the expedition, but could not get a guarantee that transporta- 
tion or rations would be furnished — a failure that was later to 
cause Wright much exasperation and trouble. By the end of 
February Gray and Wright had practically completed their 
part of the arrangements. On February 26 Gray wrote to his 
old teacher, Professor John Torrey : 

Having determined on an expedition for Wright, you may 
be sure I was not going to be altogether disappointed. Accord- 
ingly I have got one all arranged (Lowell and Greene subscrib- 
ing handsomely) . . . and thus far everything has wonderfully 
conspired to favor it. Wright has left me this morning to go 
to his mother's in Connecticut (Wethersfield) ; there to make 
his portfolios and presses; comes on to New York soon; takes 
first vessel for Galveston (I expect a letter from Hastings 
telling when it sails), and to reach Austin and Fredericksburg 
in time to accompany the troops that are to be sent up, by a 
new road, across the country to El Paso, in New Mexico. 
Look on the map (Wislizenus) and you will see the region we 
mean him to explore this summer; the hot valley of the Rio 
del Norte [Rio Grande], early in the season, the mountains 
east, and especially those west in summer. He will probably 
stay two years, and get to Taos and Spanish Peaks this year 
or next. We shall have government recommendations to pro- 
tection, and letters to an officer (commanding) who, through 
[Professor Joseph] Henry, has already made overtures to col- 
lect himself or aid in the matter. 

Wright left New York for Texas about the first of April, 
1849, and arrived in Galveston the twenty-fourth of that 



month. On reaching Galveston he learned that the military 
train which he was to accompany would leave San Antonio 
the first of June. He therefore proceeded from Galveston to 
Houston, and from Houston west across the Brazos bottoms 
of Waller and Austin counties to Rutersville, which he reached 
on May 12. The interval before the departure of the train 
he spent as follows: during the ten days from May 15 to May 
25 he followed the Colorado from Lagrange to Austin; May 
27 and 28 he spent in the neighborhood of San Marcos and 
on the road to New Braunfels; on the twenty-ninth he was 
at New Braunfels and on the Guadalupe, and he arrived in 
San Antonio on the thirtieth of May. He had timed his ar- 


rival well, for the baggage train which he was to accompany 
left San Antonio the next day. 

Wright's account of the trip from Galveston up to Austin, 
contained in a letter to Gray, is highly valuable. Those mat- 
ters that are of general interest I have here excerpted from the 
mass of botanical data : 

Austin May 26th/49 
My Dear Doctor 

Let me report progress You know the date of my departure 
from New York and probably that of my arrival in Galveston 
[April 28] I took the first boat for Houston Unable to trans- 
port my baggage by stage I put it on a road waggon, (unfortu- 
nately) overloaded . . . with a weak team By a blunder of 
the driver he started on the wrong road and one as bad as roads 
ever get to be The result was that he was obliged to hire him- 
self hauled out of the mud into the right road and on that we 
had divers unloadings and reloadings to perform on our way 
I footed it through mud and water and had a fair chance to 
botanize for aquatics or amphibia 

I stopped a few days with my friends at Rutersville and then 
got here some days before the waggon 

On my way up and here I have collected some 250 species 
probably which will furnish some 2000 specimens some few 
rather bad — injured by rain and most of which we had a plenty. 
They are mostly old and known plants but will do for ex- 

I have been here a week and have now ascertained that on 
monday next or soon thereafter a waggon will start for San 
Antonio and the quartermaster . . . has promised me trans- 
portation I have written to Gen Harney which I hope will se- 
cure me transportation if not subsistence to El Paso I intend to 
procure one to Major Henry which will secure me his favor and 

The train will leave San Antonio on the 1st prox and Mr. 
Chapman says will be three months on the route — 200 m per 
month ample leisure to botanize by the way. . . . 

I may have to lay in provisions at San Antonio to El Paso 
and join some of the messes of privates unless some of the 
officers should take a liking to me as I hope they will and it 
may diminish my expense These have been rather greater than 


I expected My trip to New York and back to Wethersfield 
early in March, Hotel bill for several days about the 1st Ap. 
my passage money not 25 dols but 27 1/2 Hospital money at 
Galveston, wharfage, storage, drayage, tavern expenses, passage 
and freight to Houston, & a repetition of like little charges these 
with my expense up the country though I have tried to be eco- 
nomical have considerably reduced my funds Still I think I 
will have enough for the present campaign & if you will have 
arrangements made to supply me for the next I think I will be 
able to do something handsome for yourself and other friends. 

You need not hope to hear from me again before I arrive 
at El Paso unless something important should occur 


Charles Wright 

Poor Wright ! He was to learn that few army officers of 
the pioneer period had any overmastering love for those men 
of science — many of them naturalists and geologists of matur- 
ity, and even of international reputation — who went out with 
expeditions such as this one. Even when the investigator was 
recommended by the Secretary of War, by Professor Joseph 
Henry, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, or by the 
Secretary of State himself, still it was optional with the com- 
manding officer whether he should furnish rations and trans- 
portation. The following letter, written to Gray on that 
Thursday at San Antonio while the baggage train was making 
ready to start, will show some of the uncertainties of the trip : 

San Antonio May 31st/49 
My Dear Doctor 

I have just put my baggage on one of the Army waggons 
with that of my good friend Dr. Baker whom I fortunately 
met here and to whom I am much indebted 

I had a letter to Gen Harney from Mr. Miller Secretary of 
State explaning my pursuts [sic] and wishes The Gen. gave 
me but little encouragement and at the solicitation of Dr. Baker 
allowed me to put my baggage on the waggon without the least 
assurance of subsistence and I have been obliged to muster up 
all the Yankee confidence natural to me (which is and always 


was but little) with what the Dr had to spare assisted too by 
Mr. Shelton to bear me out in undertaking I shall start after 
the train this evening and I shall try to get something to eat 
out of somebody. Now can not you get a special order from 
the head of the Commissary Department to furnish me with 
support and transportation. The officers all plead that they 
have no authority to grant these favors and if they grant them 
to one for a certain purpose — as to me for botanizing — how 
can they refuse them to others for other purposes ? I have no 
assurance that my collections will be transported back from 
El Paso though I have no doubt that they can be more easily 
brought back than I can be conveyed there as the waggons will 
return empty The officers all express a desire to serve me but 
at the same time say they have no authority without assuming 
responsibility which they are unwilling to do ... I am re- 
joiced that I am in time late as it is, to go with the train and 
you will doubtless share my joy at the favorable prospect be- 
fore me It is supposed we will be three months on the route 
( — travelling slowly — ) of only about 500 miles . . . There 
is still some cholera here and the weather is getting very hot 
and I shall have to be very prudent to avoid sickness I must 
start this evening and walk 15 miles to overtake my waggon — 
not a very pleasant evening to walk either in prospect or in 
execution . . . 

My kind regards to Mrs. Gray 
Yours sincerely 
Chas Wright 

The whole of the trip to El Paso, a distance of 673 miles, 
Wright made on foot, for transportation of his trunk and 
drying paper only was furnished by the Government. Fol- 
lowing the southern trail that later became the route of the 
Southern Pacific railroad, the party arrived in El Paso on 
September 12, 1849, after a journey lasting 104 days. Dur- 
ing part of this time Wright boarded with one of the messes 
of the transportation train, and endured many privations and 
hardships. The return, which began on October 12 with 
thirty-five wagons, took forty-two days, so that Wright 
reached San Antonio on November 23. The route followed 
led through the Hueco and Guadalupe Mountains, down Dela- 


ware Creek to the Pecos, and down the valley of the Pecos by 
the so-called Upper or Fredericksburg Road. 

Wright had early besought Gray to furnish him with a 
horse and covered cart such as Lindheimer had, for collecting 
plants; but Gray pointed out the fact that Thomas Drummond 
during his fruitful explorations in Texas had traveled on 
foot. The difficulties of such collecting impressed them- 
selves on Wright in the first few days of the trip, when the 
military company was retarded in its movements by rains 
that were disastrous to plant collections. The official record of 
the weather of the trip for the first few days, published in 
the War Department's report, shows the following : 

June 1 — Day exceedingly unfavorable; the rain fell in tor- 
rents, which added to those that had fallen a few days pre- 
vious, made the roads extremely bad. The command, however, 
moved on, and encamped for the night on the Leon Creek. 
June 2 — A violent thunder storm arose early in the morning, 
and the command remained in camp. June 3 — Moved to San 
Lucas Springs; and before the tents were pitched, again the 
rain began to fall. The prairies were now inundated, and the 
roads impassable. 

In the face of this weather, under difficulties and disappoint- 
ments which it is hard for us now to appreciate, Wright in 
his despair wrote to Gray a letter unburdening his heart. I 
reproduce it in its entirety so that the reader may realize the 
sort of obstacles a naturalist-collector like Wright had to 
meet: cold, rain, burning heat, maddening flies, bitter saline 
water, short rations, and, above all, the sense of abandonment. 
It was easy for Wright, in his loneliness and despair, to blame 
Gray for all the discomfort and hardship of his position. 
Fortunately Gray could understand and forgive such com- 
plaints in view of Wright's work for science. Wright's letter 
follows : 


Quihi June 2nd/49 
My Dear Dr 

I wrote you so recently that if I were not full I would keep 
silence But steam is so high that if I do not blow off fearful 
consequences may follow. 

Yesterday morning [June 1, on the banks of the Medina] 
we had a violent norther cold and accompanied with rain after 
which and when ready to start my baggage, paper &c was dis- 
tributed about into three or four waggons It was so packed 
that it was not much injured This morning about daylight we 
had another more severe accompanied with hail My collections 
were nearly all wet and I have had no time to dry them so they 
will be much damaged My paper is nearly all wet I should 
not wonder if we have another storm tonight 

Now these are misfortunes attendant on my dependent situa- 
tions and I can not prevent them The officers care nothing 
about my affairs and the waggoners have a little curiosity to 
gratify by looking on while I change my plants and care no 
more about it or rather would be pleased if they were sunk in 
the river and their load would be lightened 

You will recollect I suppose a suggestion made to you that 
I should be equipped with a waggon and horse from which you 
dissented instancing the labors of other botanists who had made 
large collections But I venture to say that Drummond did not 
attempt to save 12-15 specimens of each species or if he did he 
had an art which I do not possess 

The outfit which I proposed seemed to you perhaps large 
but I am sincerely of the opinion that the entire cost of the 
outfit might have been clear saved the present year I would 
rather have a horse and carriage and ten dollars in my pocket 
than have five hundred as I am so far as it facilitates my opera- 
tions I have money in my pocket but it does me no good I 
can buy nothing with it I sit uninvited and see others eating 
and it is a severe trial to my feelings to thrust myself among 
them The men have their rations and often none to spare and 
how am I to get along to El Paso I know not If I had con- 
sulted my own feelings alone I should have stopped at San 
Antonio and turned back But you and Mr Lowell had expec- 
tations which would not have been realized and I felt reluctant 
to disappoint you You wrote to me [Jan. 17, 1848] of work- 
ing like a dog I know how you live — then call your situation 
dog-paradise and mine hog- and ass-paradise combined and you 


may realize my situation — sleep all night if you can in the rain 
and walk 12-15 miles next day in the mud and then overhall 
[sic] a huge package of soaked plants and dry them by the 
heat of the clouds 

I have been now three or four days in such a state of uncer- 
tainty about the possibility of going on that I have no enjoy- 
ment and today I have not saved a specimen — have merely 
collected some seeds as I walked along the way As for study- 
ing the plants I have not attempted it so long that I have almost 
forgotten I have been vexed enough to cry or swear when 
thinking that I have the pleasing prospect of being dependent 
for six months on a parcel of men who call me a fool and wish 
me at the bottom of the sea 

There is a man who is bound for California in our company 
— provided with a carriage and mules provisions and cooking 
utensils — independent as a wood sawyer and dependent on 
others only for safety against enemies If I had such a one my 
expenses would be very trifling I could collect twice as many 
specimens of twice as many species and twice as well preserved 
I could attend to them at any time I pleased in wet or dry 
weather and have the assurance that the rain at least could be 
prevented from coming to them I could also take them to 
Houston or other seaport and put them on shipboard myself 
and then I would know they would depend for their forwarding 
on no careless agent 

I am fully resolved that this season will close my botanical 
travels on horseback or on foot if I can not operate to better 
advantage I'll give it up and turn my attention to something 

I can now only hope that when Capt. French arrives in camp 
by [sic] situation will be improved by an appointment or in 
some other way . . . You now know my sentment [sic] on 
the mode of botanizing in this country & if you wish to con- 
tinue it on my plan I am ready to do all I can . . . 

Affectionately yours 
Charles Wright 

In spite of Wright's discouragement, the results of the ex- 
pedition, when they were analyzed, proved to be very rich, 
numbering some fourteen hundred species, besides many cacti 
and packages of seeds of wild plants — all of which, with the 
exception of the cacti, went to Gray. After sending of! the 


collections, Wright spent some months (from January to No- 
vember, 1850) with Colonel Claiborne Kyle at San Marcos, 
acting as tutor ; and in his free time hunted deer, made buck- 
skin, and gathered extensive collections of mosses and lichens 
for Sullivant and Tuckerman. From December, 1850, until 
the summer of 1851 he conducted a small school at New 
Braunfels, and here, as has been related, struck up a warm 
friendship with Ferdinand Lindheimer. During this time 
Wright was preparing for participation in further explora- 
tions in the West, and in the spring of 1851 he joined the Gra- 
ham Survey of the boundary. Of the experiences of this trip, 
Gray says : 

He joined the party under Col. Graham, one of the commis- 
sioners for surveying and determining the United States and 
Mexican boundary from the Rio Grande to the Pacific, accept- 
ing the position partly as a botanist, partly as one of the sur- 
veyors [after about the first of November, 1851], which 
assured a comfortable maintainance [sic] and the wished-for 
opportunity for botanical exploration in an untouched field. 
Attached only to Col. Graham's party, he returned with him 
without reaching farther westward than about the middle of 
what is now the territory of Arizona, and in the summer [prob- 
ably in August] of 1852 he returned with the extensive collec- 
tions to San Antonio, and thence to St. Louis, to deliver his 
Cactaceae to Dr. Engelmann, and with the remainder to Cam- 
bridge. These collections were the basis of the second part of 
the Plant ce Wrightiance and ... in part of the Botany of the 
Mexican Boundary Survey, published in 1859. . . . No name 
is more largely commemorated in the Botany of Texas, New 
Mexico, and Arizona than that of Charles Wright. . . . Sure- 
ly no botanist ever earned such scientific remembrance by entire 
devotion, acute observation, severe exertion, and perseverance 
under hardship and privation. 

Thus Wright bade farewell to the Southwest, after fifteen 
fruitful years in Texas, eight of which he had devoted unre- 
servedly to the advancement of knowledge of its flora. With 
his departure our detailed account of his life ends. 


Wright hastened to Wethersfield and Cambridge, and after 
a winter in Cambridge with Gray, made ready in the spring 
of 1853 to accompany Ringgold's North Pacific Exploring 
Expedition as botanist. He sailed on the steamer John Han- 
cock, from Norfolk, on June 11. The itinerary led to the 
island of Madeira, the Cape Verde Islands, and the Cape of 
Good Hope, where Wright made very extensive plant collec- 
tions — nearly eight hundred species; to Sydney in Australia; 
to Hongkong, and northward along the coasts of Japan; to 
Kamchatka and the Bering Straits; and finally to the coast 
of California. He arrived at San Francisco in October, 
1855, and in February, 1856, secured permission to detach 
himself from the expedition and to return home by way of 
Nicaragua (where he spent some weeks on an island in Nic- 
aragua Lake) and Greytown. After a summer in Cam- 
bridge and in Wethersfield with his mother, he began in 
November of 1856 his eleven years' botanical exploration of 
Cuba. His work in that region was of the highest value. 

In 1868 Wright acted as Director of the Herbarium at 
Cambridge, during Gray's absence in Europe; and in 1871 
he made a short, but not very successful, collecting trip to 
Santo Domingo. With this trip his active botanical career 
may be said to have ended. Returning to Wethersfield, he 
devoted himself to gardening and farming, and, for a time, 
to work at Cambridge during the winter and spring months. 
For six months during the winter of 1875-6 he acted as libra- 
rian of the Bussey Institution of Harvard University. 

The last ten years of his life Wright spent largely at 
Wethersfield, in the house where he was born. As he wrote 
to the historian of his class at Yale, Thomas Thatcher, he 
worked on the farm and in the garden, "with now and then a 
day devoted to botany." In winter, "besides reading and 
keeping warm," he did "whatever is needful to be done at this 
time of year — which with us, is not much. Once or twice 


a year I make a visit of a few days at Cambridge/' With his 
invalid brother John and his two sisters, all unmarried, he 
faced old age serenely. During these final years, when oc- 
casion offered, Wright collected plants so assiduously in the 
vicinity of Wethersfield that it is extremely difficult for more 
recent botanists to find any species not previously reported by 
him. But meanwhile an organic disease of the heart, dating 
back to his Cuban days, began to sap his strength and warn 
him of approaching death. Life went suddenly, on the 
eleventh of August, 1885, when he was doing the evening 
work of caring for the animals on the little farm. As he did 
not return at the expected time, search was begun; they 
found his body lying as if in repose. 

It was a fitting death for one who had lived Wright's life. 
As a young man he had left the peace of quiet Wethersfield 
and had gone out to the rugged frontier, where an unfriendly 
environment and constant danger from the Indians were part 
of the day's expectations. Then had come the exploring 
trips — in the Southwest, in South Africa, Japan, Cuba, Cen- 
tral America — with their privations, hardships, and loneli- 
ness, and also their inspiration. At last, worn with his labors, 
he had come to the quiet village of his birth, to his ancestral 
home; and there gently and quietly he paid his score. The 
explorer rested at last. 

In any analysis of Wright's character, as man and botan- 
ist, certain traits stand out predominantly: simplicity and 
directness of mind ; bluntness of speech ; an oversensitiveness 
to what others might say or think of him that was almost 
pathological; a faithfulness to his purposes which drove him 
doggedly on to their accomplishment. Gray, in his obituary 
notice, says that Wright was a "person of low stature and 
well-knit frame, hardy rather than strong, scrupulously tem- 
perate, a man of simple ways, always modest and unpretend- 


ing, but direct and downright in expression, most amiable, 
trusty and religious." A perusal of the thirty-seven letters 
Wright sent to Gray from Texas, and the innumerable let- 
ters later sent from the cruise around the world and from 
Cuba — as well as of Gray's letters to Wright, still preserved 
at the Gray Herbarium — fortifies this estimate. Asa Gray 
had indeed, as he loved to say, a fidus Achates in Charles 
Wright. No two men ever worked more devotedly to advance 
one another's interests. They were almost of the same age — 
Gray was eleven months older — and they early seem to have 
taken each other as equals. Wright's love and admiration did 
not prevent him in those lonely days in East Texas — when he 
could write that he had "lost ten years in the backwoods" — 
from taking Gray sharply to task when some real or fancied 
neglect on Gray's part wounded him. Nor did he mince words : 
"I think hard of it that you have not written for so long 
a time," Wright says in his forthright way, when he has not 
received a letter from Gray in many months. "Surely you 
can speak after almost a year's silence." Again and again 
in his letters Wright appeals to Gray to write him often con- 
cerning the progress of botany, forgetful of the many hours 
his friend spent daily in the building up of the Harvard 
Herbarium, in the establishment of the Botanical Garden, 
in the preparation for his lectures at Harvard College, and 
in writing the Manual of North American Botany, the Illus- 
trated Genera, and other works, as well as articles in the jour- 
nals. One can understand the reason for the appeals and for 
the resentment. Wright, with the physical defect of vision 
that marred his attractiveness, felt his loneliness keenly; and 
that loneliness, together with a little jealousy of Gray, broke 
out in resentment at the least show of neglect or condescen- 
sion. So it was that not only Gray, but others, often found 
Wright a somewhat prickly associate. 

In writing to Sir William J. Hooker, Gray once said of 


Wright: "He has now some good friends in Cuba, and de- 
serves them, for he is one of the most hearty, single-minded, 
and disinterested persons I ever knew, as well as an admirable 
collector ; but being rather rough in exterior, he does not like 
to come into contact with official people, unless properly ac- 
credited. " Gray must often have been troubled at Wright's 
outbursts of feeling. "You may well complain that I neglect 
you but ... I have been, am so — busy is not the word for it," 
Gray says in one letter. "I can't think of any to express it. 
I suppose that I have now lying by me more than fifty unan- 
swered letters, though I keep answering the most pressing as 
fast nearly as they come in." "Do not growl at me if you can 
help it," he writes in another. One reads with emotion Gray's 
letter to Wright in answer to several in which he has been 
taken rather strongly to task for his neglect of the collector. 
It throws much light on the conditions under which lived 
America's foremost botanist and its leading botanical col- 
lector : 

Cambridge Massachusetts Jan 9 [1848] 
Dear Friend 

That I ought to have replied to your letter of the 19th Nov. 
— to say nothing of that of Sept. 21 & June 18. there is no 
doubt. The latter I have carried in my pocket a good while, 
hoping to catch a moment somewhere and sometime to write 
to you. . . . But I have not had an hours [sic] leisure not 
demanded by letters of immediate pressing consequence, or in 
which I was not too tired to write. 

There are many correspondents whom I neglected almost as 
much as I have you. I have worked like a dog, but my work 
laid out to be finished last July is not done yet. 

But from about the time of your last letter a providential 
dispensation has prevented me from doing what I would, name- 
ly the sickness, by typhoid fever of a beloved brother (a Junior 
in college here) who required every leisure moment from the 
time he became seriously sick up to the 9th Inst — a week ago — 
when it pleased the Sovereign Disposer of events, to whom I 
bow, to remove him to a better world — and I am but recently 


returned from the mournful journey to convey to the paternal 
home (in Western New York), his mortal remains. This has 
somewhat interrupted the printing of the last sheets of my 
Manual of N. Botany, — which, with all my efforts at con- 
densation — has extended to almost 800 pages!! (12mo) includ- 
ing the Introduction. It will be difficult to get the vol. within 
covers. A year's hard labor is bestowed upon it. I hope it 
will be useful & supply a desideratum. As a consolation for 
my honest faithfulness in making it tolerably thorough — and 
so much larger than I expected it would prove, it is now clear 
that I shall get nothing or next to it for my year's labor, — that, 
at the price to which it must be kept to get it into our schools 
&c. there is so little to be made by it that I cannot induce a 
publisher to pay the heavy bills, except upon terms which swal- 
low up the proceeds — or at the very least I may get $200 if it 
all sells — a year or two hence. 

Meanwhile I have paid the expenses principally incurred on 
the 1st vol of Illustrated Genera — which I cant [sic] print and 
finish till the Manual is out, — have run heavily into debt — in 
respect to these works, which were merely a labor of love for 
the good of the science & an honorable ambition — and how I 
am going to get through I cannot well see. I am also responsi- 
ble for heavy bills for my late brother. I should despond 
greatly if I were not of cheerful temperament. To crown all, 
I expect to marry in the spring; but then my wife will aid me 
in my heavy correspondence; so you may get letters oftener. 

I wish I could write to you as you wish, all about Botany 
&c — I wish I could aid you as I desire, but I fear it is impos- 
sible. I must have rest and less anxiety. Two more years like 
the last would probably destroy me. If I had an assistant or 
two, to take details off my hands I might stand it : as it is, I 
cannot. Carey spent 3 months with me last season, and was 
to study and ticket your Texan coll. in my hands — take a set 
for his trouble, and Mr. Lowell & Mr. S. T. Carey would take 
what they needed and pay for them, so that I could pay your 
book-bill at Fowle's. The utmost Carey found time to do was 
to throw the coll. into orders — There they still lie, in the corner ! 
There perhaps they had best, now, till the coll. of the past 
season reaches me when I will try to study them altogether 
[sic] along with Lindheimer's collections — a set of which still 
wait for me to study them. Will you wonder that I am a little 
disheartened, when, in spite of every effort, I made so little 


progress. — And in 6 weeks, I begin to lecture in college again, — 
and in April the garden will require more time than I could 
give it. Such are merely some of the things on my hands, 
some of my cares! Still I am interested in you, and in your 
collections, & will do what I can. . . . [Here follows extended 
technical discussion of botanical matters.] 

Forgive my long neglect : accept my apologies. I'll see if I 
can do any better hereafter, when I have a wife to write letters 
for me. 

Yours sincerely 
A. Gray. 

Wright's diffidence toward strangers manifested itself in 
his hypersensitiveness to criticism, real or fancied. "When- 
ever Capt. French gets in an ill humor he begins to grumble 
about the weakness of his teams and the transportation of 
botanists' tricks," Wright wails, while on his El Paso journey. 
"I don't feel quite at home here as I did on board the Steamer 
[John Hancock]/' he writes from the flagship Vincennes of 
the Ringgold Expedition. "Here the majority of the mess 
have a most sovereign contempt for science and no esteem for 
its devotees." He seems to have been always on the alert 
for praise or blame. "I don't eat the bread of idleness and 
have frequently heard the remark as I passed a company of 
men at play or sitting in conversation 'that is a mighty in- 
dustrious man,' " he writes in one of his letters, with evi- 
dent satisfaction. Yet through his correspondence runs a 
sense of inferiority, which now and again rises to the sur- 
face. It is to Gray's great honor that he discovered this 
devoted, loyal friend, and by his encouragement and patience 
enabled Wright to do outstanding work for the advancement 
of American botany. Wright realized this, and the friend- 
ship begun in 1844 remained unmarred to the end. 

In the early days, Texas was a testing place of character. 
The prevailing conditions — instability, formless public opin- 
ion, and lawlessness — compassed the ruin of many men who 


came out to the frontier. Others, however, were of such stuff 
that every hardship, every difficulty but seemed to strengthen 
and purify them. Lindheimer and Wright, though markedly 
different in many respects, were alike in this: they came to 
Texas in its chaotic, lawless period; they lived through the 
period of the Republic and into its statehood in the American 
Union. In the end they emerged as men who had given 
unique service to the scientific leaders of their day and gen- 
eration. With all their faults, they accomplished a task that 
is with difficulty calculable. With regard to Wright, it can be 
said in the words of Asa Gray that he accomplished "a great 
amount of useful and excellent work for botany in the pure 
and simple love of it ; and his memory is held in honorable and 
grateful remembrance by his surviving associates." 

»> - >» ■ >» ■ >» »> ») ») »> >xc- <«■ <«■ « fr «£ « «« - «< - <« ■ 


FRONTIER teacher, Indian trader, pioneer physician, ex- 
plorer, naturalist — how shall one begin to unravel the 
life-skein of that many-sided man, the self-taught naturalist, 
Gideon Lincecum? A pioneer in three states — Georgia, Mis- 
sissippi, and Texas — he lived a long and active life in sur- 
roundings typical of the American frontier. He was born in 
1793 on the fringe of civilization in Georgia, but drifted west- 
ward in the family's restless wanderings to escape the press of 
oncoming civilization. His love of adventure led him to 
make explorations in Texas as early as 1835, more than a 
year before the battle of San Jacinto; and in 1848, shortly 
after Texas was annexed to the United States, he came west 
again and settled at Long Point, Washington County. His 
death in 1874 coincides, roughly, with the passing of the 
frontier in the Texas that he knew. He lived and died a 
frontiersman. Remote from all that men call civilization, 
without formal training, impatient of restraint, yet acutely 
observant and splendidly self-reliant, he did yeoman service 
as pioneer physician and frontier naturalist. 

Charles Darwin corresponded with Lincecum on occasion, 
as did also Agassiz and Alexander von Humboldt; Darwin, 
in fact, sponsored the publication of some of Lincecum's 
researches in the journal of the Linnaean Society of London. 
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia published 
a paper of Lincecum' s filled with data so remarkable that con- 
ventional, school-trained naturalists were skeptical of his mi- 



nute and astonishing observations and unorthodox conclu- 
sions. For men of science of his day read Lincecum's com- 
munications on natural history with either approval or sharp 
dissent ; there was no middle ground. A strong, positive per- 
sonality, he dominated people through sheer native endow- 
ment. Without the schoolmen's training in scientific method, 
at first he lacked their precision, but he almost entirely over- 
came this defect through patient observation. 

Although at one time Lincecum's observations and work 
were discussed by naturalists at home and abroad, although 
scientists aligned themselves as allies or opponents, little was 
known of his personality until the appearance of his auto- 
biography, which, although written in 1871, did not find its 
way into print until 1904. The circumstantial account of 
Lincecum's early life given here makes plain the basis and 
origin of his overmastering love of nature. Yet the account 
of his work in Texas, and of the last thirty years of his life, 
is altogether too brief. The student of Lincecum's career 
must find the record of his scientific work in his published 
papers, all of which appeared after 1860: the list includes at 
least fourteen papers on natural history, chiefly of insects, 
and should be supplemented by the posthumous autobiography, 
an essay on Choctaw traditions, and a life of the Choctaw 
chieftain Pushmataha — long papers which, like the autobiog- 
raphy, appeared in the eighth and ninth volumes of the Pub- 
lications of the Mississippi Historical Society. 

Lincecum alone, of all the naturalists whose names are 
linked with the advance of natural history in early Texas, was 
a true son of the frontier. Of those early comers to Texas 
whose pioneer work laid the foundations of our present knowl- 
edge, Boll, Engelmann, Fendler, Lindheimer, Roemer, and 
Wislizenus were products of German university or Gymna- 
sium; Belfrage was trained in a Swedish technical institute. 
Thomas Drummond obtained his training in Scottish schools, 


and Charles Wright was a graduate of Yale College. To 
Lincecum alone, with his five short months at a backwoods 
school in border Georgia, was denied the adventure of higher 

We are indebted to Lincecum's autobiography for our 
knowledge of his family and connections. Gideon's father 
was Hezekiah Lincecum, an unfrocked Baptist preacher of 
French-English descent who had married a certain Sally 
Hickman. Hezekiah, true to the restless spirit of the frontier, 
and to his blood — for he was a son of Miriam Bowie, and 
close kin to the father of the Texas Bowies — led the family 
in successive removes from place to place in western South 
Carolina and Georgia, stopping only long enough, one is 
tempted to say, for the mother to bear her children. Gideon, 
their eldest, was born in Hancock County, Georgia, April 22, 
1793. In the succeeding years frequent changes of scene bred 
in the boy an enduring love of the frontier — the hunting in the 
deep forests, the fishing in the rivers, the life among friendly 
Choctaws: predilections that manifested themselves repeat- 
edly in later life. Descriptions of the travels of Lincecum's 
boyhood years crowd the pages of the autobiography, and he 
turns always with delight to undimmed memories of fishing, 
hunting, and trekking through the wilds. 

Here we learn that on a certain journey when Gideon was 
ten years old, he preferred to walk, and as the wagons rolled 
on through the forests or over the rough roads, he would 
shoot at the birds with his bow and arrows. "I shall never 
forget the exceeding gladness that filled my boy's heart the 
morning we set out," he says in one place; and adds, with a 
mixture of enthusiasm for nature and boyish barbarity, "I 
ran ahead of the moving company, shooting my arrows at 
every bird I could see." When the boy was about eleven 
years old, his father had a barbed fish-spear made for him to 
use in the creeks and branches of Georgia, which were then 


filled with pike. The memory of his first day's use of the 
spear, and the yard-long string of fish he brought home, 
evoked ecstatic reminiscences in the memoirs. It is signifi- 
cant of the temperament of the man that after a long life, filled 
with a man's work in many fields and with much honor among 
his kind, it was the early life of nature which engaged his 
memories and called forth his most enthusiastic comment. 

When Gideon was in his twelfth year, his father made a 
third attempt to go to Tennessee. "I was delighted that we 
were on the road," says Lincecum. "I was an expert with a 
bow and arrow, and could run far ahead, shooting and kill- 
ing many birds in the course of the day." Later, in describing 
a journey from Georgia across the Alabama line to the then 
small village of Tuscaloosa, he says : 

The journey, the way we traveled, was about 500 miles, all 
wilderness; full of deer and turkeys, and the streams were full 
of fish. We were six weeks on the road ; and altogether it was, 
as I thought and felt, the most delightful time I ever spent in 
my life. My brother Garland and I "flanked it" as the wagons 
rolled along and killed deer, turkeys, wild pigeons; and at 
nights, with pine torches, we fished and killed a great many 
with my bow and arrows, whenever we camped on any water 
course. Little creeks were full of fish in that season. 

This enthusiasm lasted into Lincecum's mature years. 
When he was a man of twenty-five, with a growing family, his 
father suggested they go together to the Tombigbee River 
country. The fresh, unspoiled spirit of the man is revealed 
in the following account of the trip, from the autobiography : 

[My father's] descriptions of the dark, heavy forests, the wide 
thick canebrakes, and the clear, running river, . . . put me 
into a perfect transport. . . . [We made the arrangements] and 
got to my father's house about dark [on the day appointed]. 
They were all delighted to see us, and we were in a perfect 
ecstasy over the prospect of a wagon trip through the wilder- 
ness. We made the preparation and set out on the 1st day of 
November, 1818. The weather was fine. We were twelve 


days en route and the heavens were perfectly cloudless during 
the entire trip. The autumnal leaves and nuts were clattering 
down everywhere. Shellbarks, hickory-nuts, and chestnuts 
strewed the ground, and grapes, muscadines, persimmons and 
various wild autumnal fruits were plentiful. It was delightful 
to observe the women and children wallowing in the dry leaves 
in the evening, and gathering such quantities of nuts as to 
require assistance to get them into camp. Then such cracking 
and roasting nuts and loud merry talk till bedtime. We killed 
plenty of deer, turkeys, ducks, wild pigeons, and had the music 
of great gangs of wolves around our camp every night. The 
entire trip was delightful beyond description. 

One may pass in rapid review the chief events of Lincecum's 
boyhood and early manhood. When he was fourteen years old 
his father provided for the boy his first, last, and only school- 
ing. Lincecum writes : 

There came a man . . . and made up a school ... a mile 
and a half from our home. Father entered my sister, brother, 
and me as day scholars at the rate of $7.00 each per annum. 
We three started the next day and did not miss a day until 
father moved to the new purchase five months later. I was 
fourteen years old, and it was the first schoolhouse that I had 
ever seen. I began in the alphabet. There were some very 
small boys, seven years old, who could read. ... In accord- 
ance with the instructions of the master to come up and recite 
when I was ready, I managed to say a lesson every fifteen or 
twenty minutes during the first day. I was then spelling words 
of four letters. By hard study at night I was able to spell 
words of two syllables on the morning of the second day. . . . 
There was so much talk about the new spelling book — Webster's 
— that father got me one. The teacher soon told me to bring 
paper and ink to school. . . . i\t the end of five months I could 
read, the master said, "very well," could write a pretty fair 
hand by a copy, had progressed in arithmetic to the double root 
of three, and had committed Webster's spelling book entirely 
to memory. 

In the War of 1812, Lincecum served during the years 1814- 
15 in Captain Varner's company (Colonel Freeman's regi- 
ment) of General Floyd's brigade of dragoons. He had two 


short periods of service, one before and one after his marriage 
to Sarah Bryant on October 25, 1814. At this time he was 
also reading medicine in a desultory way, apparently with- 
out preceptor or adviser. He had always been interested in 
medicine, however, and even at this time, when he had just 
reached his majority, he looked forward eagerly to a frontier 

His life in Georgia was further diversified by a term as 
teacher in a backwoods school, an experience which reveals 
Lincecum's knowledge of human nature and his ability to 
adapt himself to circumstances. His account relates that 

The country near the [Ocmulgee River, in Georgia] was dense- 
ly settled. At a little gathering one day I heard some of the 
men say that the boys had turned out and ducked and abused 
. . . their schoolmaster so badly that he had quit the school. 
Some of the men remarked that their children were so bad that 
they feared that they could never find a man that would be able 
to manage them. ... It struck me at once that this would be 
a more profitable employment than hunting and fishing, and I 
told [the school committee] to make out their articles . . . and 
tell me where and when to go and I would undertake it. . . . 
These children had been born and raised to the age I found them 
among the cows and drunken cowdrivers on the outer borders 
of the State, and they were positively the coarsest specimens of 
the human family I had ever seen. I saw very distinctly that 
no civil or ordinary means would be applicable to their condi- 

But the school turned out to be a great success. By intro- 
ducing pupil self-government, Lincecum was able to work a 
complete change in conditions at the school. The school- 
directors sought to engage him permanently, but he declined. 
In 1818 Lincecum went to eastern Mississippi, on the Tom- 
bigbee River, near the site of the present town of Columbus. 
After building a house, he crossed the river to visit the Choc- 
taws, a friendly tribe who had the reputation of being the 
preeminent agriculturists among the southern Indians. Lin- 


cecum possessed an unusual facility in learning Indian lan- 
guages, and he had the knack of making friends with the In- 
dians. Thus he became an authority in his day on their lan- 
guages and customs. We know from the autobiography that 
he could use the Choctaw language with ease, and Stephen 
Daggett states that Lincecum spoke the Chickasaw language 
fluently, was well acquainted with the family of the leading 
man and chief councillor of the Chickasaw nation, and was 
familiar with the Chickasaw and Choctaw customs. In 1819, 
the year after his removal to eastern Mississippi, Lincecum 
set up as an Indian trader, and for several years dealt in sugar, 
coffee, whiskey, and dry-goods, all brought by boat from 

These events are of interest in considering a naturalist 
in the making, even though they do not aid directly in inter- 
preting the man's scientific work. The same may be said of 
Lincecum's multifarious political activities. In 1821 the State 
Legislature appointed him Commissioner to organize Monroe 
County, Mississippi, and Chief Justice of the County, with 
power to appoint all other officers. He was the first post- 
master at Columbus, and first Master of Lowndes Lodge, No. 
171, F. & A.M. The gift of getting along with people indi- 
cated by Lincecum's selection for these offices makes it seem 
natural that when in 1830, at the age of thirty-seven, he be- 
came a physician, in the frontier manner of arrogating a 
title and hanging out a shingle, he met with immediate and as- 
sured success. 

Lincecum's career as a physician is illustrative of the low 
estate of medicine on the frontier. In the older settlements the 
physician was trained under the apprentice system by a pro- 
cess of "reading medicine" with a practitioner for a couple of 
years, followed in most cases by two years' attendance on lec- 
tures at some medical school. At an earlier period in America, 
any physician could certify to the medical attainments of a 


neophyte, who, thus armed with his license to kill or cure, 
might set up immediately in practice for himself. Lincecum 
had neither preceptor nor formal training before he engaged 
in the practice of medicine. He says in the autobiography 
that in 1813-14 he was "confining himself entirely to the study 
of medicine," and that in 1818 he "could mix drugs and prac- 
tice medicine as far as it was known in the interior of the 
country in those days." In 1830 he was enabled to begin reg- 
ular practice under conditions of some interest : 

I had, during my whole life [says Lincecum], done all my 
reading in medical works, and knew all that had been published 
on the subject; and had felt seriously inclined to set up shop 
and try to make a living in that way. But I had no medicine 
nor the means to procure it. ... I continued to hunt and spend 
my time in the woods, until about the first of August, 1830, 
. . . my nearest neighbor . . . sent for me to tell him what to 
do. He was very sick, and also considerably alarmed. He had 
some remnants of medicine in his old medicine chest. I hunted 
amongst them, and finding some that suited his case, relieved 
him. ... In the course of the night he remarked to me, "You 
know more about this disease and its antidotes than any of the 
doctors in this country, and I am surprised that you don't get 
some medicine and set up shop. . . ." Several other people 
encouraged me by assuring me that I should have their practice. 
Under these circumstances ... I concluded to try it . . . 
and laid in $80 worth of drugs and furniture : . . . I was sur- 
prised at its being so much more than any doctor's shop any- 
where around. . . . The neighbors all flocked in to see the 
grand drug store, as they styled it, and they looked upon it as 
a perfect wonder. ... It was soon widespread that I had more 
medicine than all the doctors in the country, and that the man 
who understood the profession well enough to apply all the 
remedies in that shop was no ordinary doctor. 

His practice was extensive, and to a high degree successful. 
That Lincecum knew little of medicine as a science emerges 
clearly in many places in the autobiography : in the confidence 
of the extract above, with its naive acceptance of popular 
judgment and approval; in accounts of Lincecum's quarrels 


with fellow-practitioners; in his diatribes against the "allo- 
pathic physicians," and "steam doctors" ; and in his final adop- 
tion of "botanical medicine" and Indian herb-medicine, which 
he learned from the Alikchi Chito, or "Great Indian Doctor" 
of the Choctaws. He made the remark in the autobiogra- 
phy that he "had felt the need of good medical works written 
by Southern Practitioners; all our medical books have been 
composed by Northern practitioners and their prescriptions 
really did not suit Southern complaints." This belief may 
seem a darkness like an incubus over the mind of the frontier 
practitioner but for his day and place he was an enlightened 
man, and there was really much justification for his plaint. 
Certainly there is no question that Lincecum was more highly 
regarded than most of his colleagues. Among his medical 
associates at Columbus were Drs. S. B. Malone and Dabney 
Lipscomb, both, of them educated under the preceptorial sys- 
tem. It was not until 1835 that Dr. S. S. Franklin, a grad- 
uate of Yale with Greek and Latin and fluxions and a medical 
degree, came to Columbus to set a new standard of medical 

Gideon Lincecum, it might be remarked, though he might 
pooh-pooh the classical training and formal studies of the 
colleges, nevertheless was greatly intrigued by classical his- 
tory and literature, as is shown in the names of his sons, all 
physicians in their day: Leonidas, Leander, Laocoon, Lucul- 
lus, and Lysander. One wonders what Lincecum' s reaction 
was to the young Yalensian Franklin, with his new knowl- 
edge of the recent advances in medical practice, culled from 
findings of London hospital and Parisian Charite. 

Most of Lincecum's period of practice was spent in the 
town of Columbus, where he had among other friends and 
associates such men as James T. Harrison, later a member of 
the Confederate Congress, and Tilghman M. Tucker, Govern- 
or of Mississippi in 1842. Lincecum lived in Columbus until 


he moved to Texas in 1848, except for an interval during 
which he resided at Cotton Gin Port, a now-abandoned town 
on the Tombigbee River not far from Columbus. 

Lincecum had first visited Texas in 1835. He tells how 
it came about as follows : 

At this period, 1834, people began to talk about what a fine 
country Texas was said to be. They had a great meeting on 
the subject and made up an emigrating company which con- 
sisted of one hundred heads of families. This company in- 
cluded mechanics, school teachers, preachers and doctors. They 
bound themselves by signing an appropriate article to go all 
together to that country, if the exploring committee on their 
return should report favorably of it. The committee consisted 
of ten men, who were considered good judges of country, and 
whose veracity was reliable. . . . [He was physician of the 
exploring party.] . . . On the 9th of January [1835], we 
set out. . . . We crossed the Tombigbee River at Cotton Gin 
Port . . . and our progress was delayed two or three days 
by high water. The remainder of our journey to San Felipe 
in Texas was quite pleasant, no accident or mishap occurring 
to any of the company. From San Felipe we went over to 
the Colorado, which we struck five or six miles above where 
Columbus now stands. We turned up the Colorado and crossed 
it at a ferry belonging to Capt. Jesse Burnham fifteen miles 
below where LaGrange now stands. From there we continued 
up the country until we reached Bastrop. We remained several 
days at that place. The 4th of March came, and with it a severe 
norther that drifted the snow waist high against the back of 
our tent. 

On the sixth of March the party turned southward; on the 
ninth they reached Jesse Burnham's ferry on the Colorado. 
At this point the Committee decided they had seen enough 
of Texas, and resolved to return to Mississippi. But Lin- 
cecum demurred. "I have seen nothing yet," he declared. 
"I cannot consent to return until I make myself able to make 
a satisfactory report ... of this great country." He accord- 
ingly refused to accompany the other members of the party 
when they set out for home. 


With the departure of his Mississippi friends, Lincecum 
experienced the first loneliness he had ever felt in his life. 
But there was much to do : he had come to Texas to spy out the 
land, and he was determined not to leave until he had arrived 
at a true judgment. As the narrative of his subsequent trav- 
els in Texas is full of interest, I shall quote from it at some 
length : 

I mounted and rode up to Captain Burnham's [Lincecum con- 
tinues] . . . and I very thankfully accepted his kind proposi- 
tion to make his house my home. I unpacked and deposited my 
luggage, turned my horses out on the prairies, and I was at 
home. ... I did not, however, spend much time at Burn- 
ham's, I went to Texas to explore and make myself acquainted 
with everything that belonged to it; and to carry out that de- 
sign, most of my time was consumed in traversing her vast 
grassy plains. I found no difficulty in procuring on the prairies 
plenty of venison to subsist on, and sometimes honey. I began 
my excursion trips by staying out a week the first experiment. 
. . . [and then] remained with [Burnham] five or six days, 
answering his questions. But the weather fine, I journeyed 
coastwise, examining the mouths of the rivers from Brazos to 
Aransas Bay. I was gone a fortnight this time. I lived plen- 
tifully all the while. . . . When I returned from this trip 
Burnham was pretty smartly out with me. He said he expected 
me to stay with him and keep him company. Instead of that, 
he said I preferred lying out in the woods. He never saw such 
a man. No one else had ever done so in Texas. "You must 
not try that again," said he. "It is the time of the year for 
them to come down, and the prairies are already full of Coman- 
ches. . . . You are a strange man . . . and you will get killed 

After remaining at Burnham's ten days, Lincecum set 
out across country on a route that led him near the sources of 
the Navidad and the Lavaca rivers. He reached the San 
Marcos and followed it to its junction with the Guadalupe. 
Proceeding southward from this point, he arrived at the 
Nueces, where he turned northward and came almost to the 
future site of Fredericksburg. He struck the Colorado at 



Bastrop, where he remained only one day, and three days 
later was back at Burnham's, on the fifty-fifth day since he 
had set out. Lincecum set out on another trip of exploration 
east of the Colorado. Reaching San Felipe the evening of the 
second day out, he visited Gail Borden, who had been ill for 
some time. Apparently on this occasion Lincecum prescribed 
for Borden's illness, for he says, "After attending to Gale 
Borden's case, I . . . left San Felipe . . . the fourth day after 
my arrival," heading east: it was the beginning of the long 
journey back to Mississippi. He had no path, but averaged 
about twenty-five miles a day. At the Trinity he made a raft 
for his belongings, and swam his horses over. Continuing 








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eastward, he reached the Sabine at Hickman's Ferry, seven 
miles below Gaines' Ferry. When he finally got back to Co- 
lumbus (on August 5, 1835) he had been gone seven months, 
lacking four days. 

During Lincecum's trip to the Guadalupe country he was 
captured by the Comanches and taken to their camp, where 
he won the respect of the Indians by claiming to be a great 
medicine man with a medicine whose odor would destroy life 
(ammonia), and another (peppermint) whose taste or odor 
would restore life to the dead. After a few days his captors 
allowed him to leave camp, supposedly to secure an important 
medicinal plant growing near. Lincecum took advantage of 
the opportunity to make his escape. 

I rode slowly away until I got out of sight [he says] and then, 
changing my course, rode rapidly all that night, all the next 
day and night, and until 12 o'clock the day following. I did 
not stop two minutes at a time during the whole route. I was 
greatly fatigued and my horse became so hungry that he would 
bite off the limbs of bushes as thick as my finger. 

When he was in San Felipe just before setting out on his 
journey back to Mississippi, Lincecum enlisted in Captain 
Moseley Baker's company of volunteers that was being or- 
ganized to meet the invading Mexicans under Cos ; but because 
of the strong protests of other members of the company — 
old friends who had known Lincecum in Georgia and Mis- 
sissippi, and who were aware of his wife and children at home 
— his name was taken off the list. The removal of his name 
grieved Lincecum deeply. 

Captain Baker assured me [he says] that as I had joined the 
first company of volunteers that had been raised in defence of 
the colony, and being fully competent to fill the office, there 
would be no opposition to my being surgeon-general to the 
forces that would occupy Texas west of the Brazos ; that he was 
going to the convention, and that he intended to exert all his 


influence to obtain the appointment for me. He had no doubt 
of success. 

When his name was erased from the rolls, Lincecum reluc- 
tantly decided to leave San Felipe. "It was a sad night for 
me/' he says in speaking of his departure. "I felt that it 
would be better to remain." He came from fighting stock, 
and his regret was entirely genuine. 

After his return to Mississippi in 1835, Lincecum remained 
there until March 30, 1848, when once again, this time with his 
family, he set out for Texas to make a new home on another 
frontier. He was fifty-five years old. Settling on a league 
of land near Long Point, Washington County, which he had 
selected in 1835, he became a resident of Texas just after it 
had been made a state of the Union. Here he lived for almost 
twenty years, a picturesque character even in that day of 
violently individual personalities, enjoying his violin and his 
studies in natural history. 

In some ways Lincecum was a trial to his neighbors, es- 
pecially to the elect. He was in religious opinion rather free : 
he bequeathed his family Bible to a designated son because the 
son was "the most superstitious of all." Mr. Soule Kirk- 
patrick of Cotton Gin Port, an old gentleman of high charac- 
ter who was a devout Methodist, always characterized Lin- 
cecum as "that old infidel, Gid Lincecum." Lincecum's grand- 
son, Dr. Addison L. Lincecum of El Campo, Texas, has re- 
corded an interesting comment on the old naturalist's habits 
during his residence at Long Point : 

About thirty-five years ago [says Dr. Addison Lincecum], I 
was camped in the river bottom in Washington county, and an 
old fellow came to camp for a visit. I was lying on my blanket 
watching a bird attempt to carry material up into a tree for 
nest-building purposes, and commented on its persistence. The 
old fellow remarked, "We uster have an old fool here who 
would spend a week watching that bird." Later he told me 


that he referred to Dr. Gid Lincecum, and when I told him that 
the doctor was my grandfather, he terminated his visit. 

Lincecum's wife died late in 1866 or early in 1867. After 
her death, Lincecum — now past seventy — made an exten- 
sive collecting trip in Central Texas. Later in 1867, resentful 
of the heavy hand of Reconstruction that was being laid on 
the state, Lincecum decided to leave the country, as did other 
friends and neighbors. He went to Mexico, and in 1868 was 
living near Tuxpan, on the coast south of Tampico in the 
State of Vera Cruz. John Henry Brown of Dallas visited 
Lincecum there, and later wrote an account of the visit which 
was published in the Dallas Daily Herald for December 12, 

In Mexico [runs Brown's narrative, in part], he stated to 
Hon. John H. Brown, that for fifty-eight years, at daylight, 
on each Christmas morning, he had stood in the door, bare- 
footed, in his night-close [sic], and played the Scottish air of 
Killy Kranky, and that on forty-eight of these occasions he 
had used the violin then in his possession, made to order for 
him in Paris, in 1820, whereupon he played the piece in his 
own hospitable home, opposite the city of Tuxpan. He was 
then seventy-five, and on his birthnight, a few nights before, 
he had been fire-hunting, killed a dear [sic] and carried it home 
on his shoulders, a distance of two or three miles. 

Dr. Addison Lincecum reports yet another incident related to 
his grandfather's stay in Mexico : 

Gideon Lincecum was ... a very excellent violinist, and at 
his death his violin was at his request buried with him. In 
1917 I was in Tuxpan, Mexico, studying the Anopheline fam- 
ily of Mosquitoes ; and while there I became acquainted with 
an old Indian who was mozo for Grandfather while he was 
[living there]. This old Indian told me that "El Doctor'' spent 
his moonlight nights on the river playing his fiddle and com- 
muning with nature, and that he was very regular in his daily 
program, would rise at daybreak, play a Scotch air on his fiddle 
and then take a plunge in the river. When the natives found 
out that I was a grandson of him, I became also a native and 
was treated most courteously and with some degree of reverence. 


Lincecum's great gusto and energy in his advanced age, so 
evident in glimpses like these, were his by inheritance. His 
father, he says in the autobiography, was a large, powerful 
man, six feet tall, and weighing in the prime of life two hun- 
dred pounds. Gideon seems to have resembled his father 
physically. He was of the same height and weight — a com- 
manding figure. When he left Mississippi for Texas, at the 
age of fifty-five, he already possessed a patriarchal beard of 
snowy whiteness, as a crayon portrait of him now hanging 
in the lodge-room of a Masonic lodge in Columbus shows. 
He had a florid complexion, and an oil portrait which was 
still to be seen at Hempstead in 1929 shows his eyes to have 
been a rather clear, light blue. 

Just how and when Lincecum began the systematic study 
of botany and zoology is not known. He had studied Indian 
herb-medicine with the Alikchi Chito in the early 'thirties in 
Mississippi, and according to the autobiography, he began to 
study systematic botany in 1833-34, when he was about forty 
years old. The first mention of his collections appears in the 
account of his trip to Texas in 1835, when he gathered a good 
pack-horse load of specimens which he brought back to Miss- 
issippi. After he settled in Texas in 1848, Lincecum under- 
took many studies concerning the natural history of the state, 
and made for individuals and institutions extensive collec- 
tions of Texan animals and plants. His unpublished diary 
contains frequent references to letters sent to and received 
from such correspondents as Professor Joseph Leidy, Ed- 
ward D. Cope, Elias Durand, H. C. Wood, and Ezra Town- 
send Cresson. In 1860 Lincecum sent to Charles Darwin a 
large collection of Texan ants and other Hymenoptcra, to- 
gether with notes on their habits — receiving in reply what 
he described as "one of the most polite letters I ever received." 
One passage of his diary, of date July 16, 1867, dealing inci- 


dentally with some of his correspondents of the Academy of 
Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, will perhaps throw as much 
light on Lincecum as on the men whom he appraises. "I con- 
sider Leidy the busiest and most liberal minded man in the 
Academy of Natural Sciences," said Lincecum. "Cope is a 
religious fanatic. Durand is a religious pretender. Wood is 
a light-gutted puritan, and Cresson is a Gentleman/ ' Lince- 
cum made some important collections of ants and other Hy- 
menoptera for Cresson and Professor A. S. Packard; he also 
collected Coleoptera for Samuel Lewis and Henry Ulke, Lep- 
idoptera for George William Peck, and botanical specimens 
for Elias D. Durand. He seems to have become acquainted 
early with Durand, with whom Lincecum jointly published in 
the Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences for 1861 
a paper entitled, "On a Collection of Plants from Texas." 
In that same year Lincecum presented a collection of more 
than a thousand plants to the Academy; and he sent to Du- 
rand another collection of more than a thousand specimens, 
which Durand in 1868 turned over to the Herbarium of the 
Jardin des Plantes in Paris, with his own collection of ten 
thousand species of North American plants. 

I have not been able to find evidence that Lincecum corre- 
sponded with Dr. Asa Gray of Harvard or Dr. George Engel- 
mann of St. Louis, chief mentors and counselors of Texas 
botanists of that day. His chief dependence seems to have 
been placed on Durand, and on S. B. Buckley (a weak reed, 
it would appear), who, true to form, named a familiar spe- 
cies of Helianthus by the new genus-name Linsecomia — the 
classification being incorrect and the nomenclature never ac- 

When Lincecum decided to leave Texas in 1867, he sent to 
the Smithsonian Institution the collections which he had 
made early in 1867 on his trip through eighteen counties of 
Central Texas. "Fourteen different accessions were received 


from Dr. Lincecum, the first being in 1867 and the last in 
1874," says Dr. A. Wetmore, Assistant Secretary of the 
Smithsonian Institution. "The material consisted of mam- 
mals, fossils, shells, birds, insects, alcoholic specimens, and one 
Negro skull, and we have letters from Dr. Lincecum trans- 
mitting the majority of them." Some of the letters were 
worked over in 1874 for publication, and printed in the eighth 
volume of the American Naturalist. A great collection of 
Texan butterflies — numbering, according to Lincecum, two 
thousand specimens — was sent to George William Peck of 
New York. 

The variety of interests indicated by these collections is 
impressive. All fields of natural history intrigued Lincecum : 
mussel-shells, fossils, plants, birds — all were grist to his mill, 
His sincere love of nature appears everywhere in his diary, 
and in the articles that he wrote, particularly on the behavior 
of the tarantula, the tarantula-killer, the gossamer-spider, 
and the scorpion of Texas. Such was the variety of his en- 
thusiasms, sometimes, that he reminds one of old Gilbert 
White of Selborne. But of course Lincecum's great work on 
Texan natural history, for which he was once well known, 
was on the Agricultural or Red Ant. 

The country in the neighborhood of Long Point showed a 
great abundance of colonies of the harvesting or agricultural 
ant. Every Texas boy knows the familiar mounds, frequent 
enough in woodland, cotton-patch, or grassland. At inter- 
vals Lincecum observed the habits of this most interesting 
creature. In 1859 he called the attention of S. B. Buckley to 
the ant and its behavior, and in 1860 Buckley published the 
first notice of the occurrence of harvesting ants in North 
America. Lincecum then laid before Charles Darwin his 
observations on the ant, and Darwin communicated them to 
the Linnaean Society of London, in a note read in April, 1861. 
Certain of Lincecum's conclusions (such as that the ants 


plant a certain kind of grass on their mounds, for use as 
food) together with his unfortunate tendency to personify 
their behavior, led Forel to say, in his Les Foitrmis de la 
Suisse: 'These observations, although reported by Charles 
Darwin, inspire little confidence in me." 

Dr. H. C. McCook, whose excellent work on "The Agri- 
cultural Ant of Texas" is familiar to all entomologists, him- 
self a notable student of ant-behavior, relates in his book how 
Lincecum's observations were received at the Philadelphia 
Academy of Natural Sciences. After the appearance of the 
Linnaean Society paper, Lincecum in 1866 published another 
on the same subject in the Proceedings of the Academy. Mc- 
Cook, referring to Forel's criticism, says : 

The doubt which is thus raised is a fair index of the state of 
mind which I found to exist among the older members of the 
Philadelphia Academy, who had more or less knowledge of the 
author, and the origin of the paper above referred to. While 
it was believed that there was some basis of fact in the com- 
munications made, they were thought to contain much that was 
fanciful, and, indeed, a shadow of doubt rested upon the whole. 
. . . The original manuscripts of this paper, as well as [others] 
. . . were in the hands of . . . the American Entomological 
Society. Mr. Cresson kindly placed these manuscripts in my 
hands. They were carefully read, and the reason for the sus- 
picion with which they had been viewed was everywhere quite 
manifest. The venerable writer had many peculiar notions 
about society, religion, and the genus homo generally, which he 
could not refrain from thrusting — in the most untimely manner 
and objectionable words — into the midst of his notes. These 
idiosyncrasies, together with some peculiarities of spelling, 
grammar, and rhetoric more original than regular, had evi- 
dently raised in the minds of officers and members of the Acad- 
emy a question, not as to the integrity of the author, but as to 
his accuracy as an observer. . . . The unpublished papers in 
my hands have been freely used in the preparation of this 
work, and have contributed some valuable facts. 

Yet, on the whole, the result of McCook's work in the field 
was a general corroboration of Lincecum's observations, with 


some correction of erroneous interpretations. As McCook 

The observations of Dr. Lincecum were, in many important 
points, confirmed during that visit, and thus a strong degree 
of authenticity given to other facts recorded by him which I 
was not so fortunate as to note. 

In his chapter on "Migrations and Movements," McCook 
publishes from Lincecum's manuscripts an interesting record 
of the partial migration of a large ant-colony or "formicary," 
and shows that he had come independently to a knowledge of 
the well-known ant-habit of compelling fellow-colonists to 
join a migratory movement determined upon by one part of the 
community. Lincecum, says McCook in this connection, 

expresses himself in the language of personification, which is 
usual with him. Indeed, he evidently believed the ants to have 
quite as high a social organization as man, and not infrequently 
stops in his manuscript to assert the superiority of the emmet 
faculties and administration of affairs over those of the ''genus 

At page 152 of his book McCook quotes from Lincecum in 
illustration of this point, showing how the old physician be- 
lieved the ants had political affiliations, governmental ordi- 
nances, and so forth. "They conceal the entrance of a new 
city until they consider themselves sufficiently strong," Lin- 
cecum says in his final paper (1874) on the agricultural ant. 
A "dissolute course" of life on the part of the males, according 
to the old doctor, resulted in their dying off in great num- 
bers. The following extract will illustrate still further his 
tendency to attribute to insects intelligence of a high order : 

There are many other interesting achievements performed by 
this sagacious race of insects. I have recently discovered a 
great difference in their mental operations and capacities. In- 
dividuals there are which possess great intellectual superiority 
to the common laboring classes, which is manifested in the fact 
that they assume the leadership in all their important public 


works and army movements. Some are much more sagacious 
and cautious in avoiding traps and dangerous contrivances set 
for them by the scarcely superior human genus. One of our 
Germans invented a very destructive ant trap. It is set over 
the entrances to their city and is so contrived, that going or 
coming it is sure to entrap them; but not all of them. Occa- 
sionally a well-formed fellow is observed to arrive at the top 
of the precipice, where he stops and gravely surveys the awful 
abyss below, filled with frantic and terribly distressed thousands 
— who have incautiously precipitated themselves into inevitable 
ruin — and after viewing the dreadful and disastrous condition 
of his fellow laborers, he seems to understand the true nature of 
their misfortune, and turning from the irremediable calamity, 
hastens down the inclined plane into the grass weeds, beyond the 
reach of further observations. 

Naturally, such writing raised acute objection among many 

Yet one who studies the papers, printed and manuscript, 
left by Lincecum finds much ground for agreement with Elias 
Durand in his over-partial estimate of the old physician. It 
is a pity that Lincecum did not have direct contact with first- 
rate minds in his studies of natural history. Buckley, the 
State Geologist, and Burleson, who also considered himself 
a geologist, were men who could contribute little or nothing 
to his scientific development. Durand, in writing to Mrs. L. 
L. Doran, Lincecum's daughter, had this to say : 

What a pity that such genius as your good father be thus 
sequestered from the great stores of the scientific books and 
immense collections of natural curiosities of our great cities? 
[sic] It is true that his active mind finds, in the forests, con- 
stant employment in the study of nature, and such men as he 
are wanted to watch the most minute operations of nature; 
but what a great assistance would he not find in our large 
libraries and how many false deductions would he have to 
rectify in authors who have not the chance, like himself, to 
catch nature on the spot. I hope the labors of your father will 
not be lost to the present generation or its posterity. 

In forming a total estimate of Lincecum's qualities as a 


naturalist, one must acknowledge first of all his spontaneous 
and sincere love of natural history, and his universal curios- 
ity regarding natural objects. On the other hand, his knowl- 
edge in any field was fragmentary and somewhat disorganized. 
He took himself and his work much too seriously — primarily 
because of the backward condition of science in official Texas, 
where the State Geologist and his staff on the Geological Sur- 
vey were men of very mediocre ability. The friendly corre- 
spondence of such men as Cope, Leidy, and Cresson encouraged 
in Lincecum the error of minimizing the differences between 
himself and them. His appointment by Professor Henry as 
Weather Observer at Long Point for the Smithsonian Insti- 
tution seemed to Lincecum a recognition of outstanding abil- 

Yet, when all is said, and especially when one considers 
the conditions of Lincecum's early life and the backwoods 
environment which framed his whole career, his native abil- 
ities as an observer stand out more and more clearly. He 
was surely, in his day, if we except Dr. Shumard, the most 
able among the naturalists in Texas who were conspicuously 
in the public eye. Charles Wright and the German natural- 
ists, of course, had strong claims to eminence; but they 
worked in silence, unnoted by the public. 

Rough, untrained, sometimes uncouth, this brave old man 
held through long years to the even tenor of his way. The 
generation that knew him as physician and naturalist is fast 
passing; only here and there are those who were acquainted 
with him, who can appreciate the handicaps under which he 
worked. In the light of all that can be learned of Lincecum's 
career, one can only say: it is cause for wonder not that he 
did so little, but that he accomplished so much. 




JULIEN REVERCHON, French-American resident of 
Dallas and student of the botany of the Southwest, was 
born at Diemoz, near Lyons, in the fourth decade of the nine- 
teenth century. His father, J. Maximilien Reverchon, was 
born at Lyons in 1810, and died at Dallas in 1878; his mother 
(born Florine Pete) was the daughter of a distinguished 
Lyonnais advocate. Julien's grandfather, Jacques Reverchon 
(1746-1829), had been a Jacobin member of the National 
Convention (1792-95), as well as of the Council of Five Hun- 
dred and of the Council of Elders; he was the citizen-repre- 
sentative from Saone-et-Loire, Rhone-et-Ain, whose reports 
on the rapacity of the Maratists at Lyons Taine quoted in 
Les Origines de la France Contemporaine. Yellowing papers 
bearing the signatures of Buonaparte (while he was General- 
in-Chief of the Army in Italy), Robespierre, Carnot, and 
the Due de Kellermann, ablest of Napoleon's cavalry generals, 
are still in the possession of the family, reminders of the days 
of Valmy, Marengo, Austerlitz, Tormes — and Waterloo. One 
priceless document, an order directed to the Representative 
Reverchon by the Committee of Public Safety of the National 
Convention, is signed by Barere, Carnot, Prieur, Collot 
d'Herbois, Billand-Varenne, Saint-Just, Couthon, Robe- 
spierre, and Lindet — a bloody crew. Fortunately for him, 
Jacques Reverchon was an ardent lover of the Revolution, and 
throughout the struggle was able to retain the confidence 
of its successive leaders. 



His intense love of liberty was manifest in his son Maxi- 
milien and in his grandson Julien, the subject of the present 
chapter. It is interesting to note, however, that while the 
great preoccupation of Jacques Reverchon was with political 
emancipation, the son and grandson were interested rather 
in socio-economic and intellectual liberty. 

In 1829 Jacques Reverchon died at Lyons, leaving his 
nineteen-year-old son to observe and participate in the up- 
heavals that during the next two decades were to bring about 
the exile of the recalled Bourbon, Charles X, the reign of 
Louis Philippe, the Revolution of 1848, and the establishment 
of the Second Empire as the result of Louis Napoleon's coup- 
d'etat in 1851. Thus Maximilien and Julien Reverchon, fa- 
ther and son, witnessed the apparent failure of all the aims 
of the French Revolution in the midst of the most dramatic 
social, economic, and political changes within the French na- 
tion. This fact is important in understanding the attitudes 
and actions of the two men. 

I have said that Julien Reverchon was born in the fourth 
decade of the nineteenth century. The year was probably 
1837, although most of the authorities, including Dr. E. G. 
Eberle in his excellent biographical sketch of Reverchon pub- 
lished in the Dallas Morning News (December 31, 1905), 
fix the time three years earlier. The date is given as August 
3, 1837, in a short biographical sketch published during Re- 
verchon's lifetime in the thirteenth volume of Sargent's Silva 
of North America. And Dr. J. H. Barnhart, bibliographer 
of the New York Botanical Garden, suggests it is highly prob- 
able that Julien Reverchon was born in 1837, since his next 
older brother, Elisee Reverchon, was almost certainly born in 
1835. I believe Barnhart is correct. 

Lyons, in the early years of Julien's life, was still a beau- 
tiful old city almost untouched by modern industrialism. The 
position of Lyons as an intellectual center dates at least from 


the fifth century, when it was the capital of Burgundy; and 
some of its beautiful old churches date back to the sixth 
century. Much of the beauty of the city has been destroyed 
in the last hundred years: at present, a great smoky manu- 
facturing center, it might be called the Pittsburgh of France. 
In Julien's childhood, however, it still retained its ancient 
charm, and in addition was important as the seat of intel- 
lectual and social movements of virility and promise. Fourier, 
the great French social philosopher, and his successor in the 
Fourieristic movement, Victor Considerant, were residents 
of Lyons, and thus the city became the center of a great move- 
ment for social reform. Fourier himself died at Lyons two 
months after Julien's birth. Thereafter Considerant, the 
gifted young Jurassien, with the aid of his versatile and tal- 
ented mother-in-law, Mme. Clarice Vigoureux, assumed the 
leadership in the Fourieristic movement. As everyone knows, 
Fourierism came to its finest flowering in the United States, 
and at La Reunion, near Dallas, reached its end as a move- 
ment not only in America, but throughout the world. 

Fourierism greatly occupied the mind of Maximilien Re- 
verchon. As a child Julien heard many a discussion on the 
subject of the new social panacea which Fourierists believed 
could cure the ills of a society making the transition from the 
older order of things to the factory system. When Julien 
was nine years old, his father, then owner of a fine, highly 
developed farm near Lyons, went to Algeria to found a col- 
ony on the plan of Fourier. The colony was unsuccessful, 
and his farm had to be sacrificed. In 1848 Maximilien took 
part in the February revolution which caused the downfall 
of Louis Philippe; when the party of Napoleon III inaugu- 
rated the Second Empire in 1851, he left France in despair. 
Considerant had also left the country and was in Bel- 
gium making plans to establish a Fourieristic colony in Amer- 


America was at that time the Promised Land for social- 
reform movements, especially for communistic or associa- 
tional projects. At the beginning of the nineteenth century 
the Industrial Revolution in Europe had brought in its train 
economic and social disorders of the greatest magnitude. 
With the rise of the factory system, the disparity between 
the possessing and the working classes had become more evi- 
dent year by year. Social philosophers, aware of the glaring 
contrasts that had developed, were bending earnest efforts to 
an amelioration of social and economic conditions, and were 
offering drastic solutions, some Utopian, some realistic, for 
the insistent problems which confronted Europe. That most 
early efforts of this sort should have been idealistic and vi- 
sionary was only natural, for social philosophers of the day 
were still under the spell of the enchanting lucubrations of 
the French Encyclopedists. Realism in social thinking came 
slowly, near the middle of the century ; and only after a num- 
ber of experiments on the plan of miniature social systems or 
communities had been made in an unsuccessful effort to do 
away with the hard fact of human inequality. 

Saint-Simon, pupil of D'Alembert, stung into action by 
the moral and physical suffering of the poor, established the 
school of thought which after his death resulted in the Com- 
munity in the Rue Monsigny. Robert Owen progressed from 
his philanthropism at New Lanark in Scotland to the egalita- 
rian communism that flowered at New Harmony on the Wa- 
bash, fitienne Cabet, a native of Dijon, founded the Icarian 
movement that achieved a precarious and stormy existence in 
Texas, Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa. But the Utopian social 
philosopher whose theories were destined to have the greatest 
influence in America, both in the number of communities 
founded and in the character of the men who took leadership 
of them, was Charles Fourier. 

Maximilien Reverchon became greatly interested in the 


movement to establish a Fourieristic colony in Texas. Con- 
siderant, returning to Belgium after a visit to America in 
1852-53, had organized La Compagnie Franco-Texienne to 
back the formation of a "phalanx" of Swiss, Belgian, and 
French emigrants who planned to go out to Texas, the Land 
of Promise. Maximilien decided to join this group, but his 
wife was unsympathetic. After the Algerian fiasco her in- 
terest in communistic projects had markedly cooled ; refusing 
to go with her husband, she remained in France with the two 
elder sons and a daughter. But Maximilien, accompanied by 
his son Julien — then a lad of nineteen — set out for America to 
join Considerant's colony at La Reunion. The boy was never 
to see his mother and brothers again, although a sister later 
came to America. Julien's mother seems to have been a 
woman of talent, and she must have been sympathetic with 
her son, for she had taught him at home and encouraged his 
interest in the wild plants growing around Lyons — an interest 
not confined to Julien, but shared by his two older brothers, 
Paul and Elisee. Julien and Elisee seem to have acquired an 
especially thorough knowledge of botany. When Julien came 
to America he is said to have left a collection of more than two 
thousand species of plants with Elisee, who continued his 
botanical studies and later did excellent botanical exploration 
in France, Spain, Greece, Turkey, and northern Africa. 
Paul Reverchon became a physician in France. 

Julien Reverchon and his father arrived at La Reunion in 
the month of December, 1856. The first colonists had reached 
the site eighteen months before, so that the Reverchons found 
on their arrival a group of cultivated French, Swiss, and Bel- 
gian musicians, artists, and artisans, including Considerant 
himself and the gracious, charming, and highly accomplished 
Mme. Vigoureux; Allyre Bureau, formerly musical director 
of the Odeon in Paris ; fimile Remond, a geologist ; and Can- 
tagrel, an engineer. Culture and skill were common among 


the colonists: at the subsequent dissolution of La Reunion 
about 1858, all Texas was laid under obligation, both cul- 
turally and industrially, to the colonists who migrated into 
different parts of the state. Most of the educated immi- 
grants could speak English, and all were well received by the 
citizens of Dallas, then a village of four hundred inhabitants. 
It was in the intellectual atmosphere of this Fourieristic col- 
ony that Julien Reverchon spent the impressionable years 
of his early manhood. 

The experience of the forty-odd other Fourieristic colonies 
established in the United States was destined to be repeated 
at La Reunion. As was the case at Brook Farm, at the North 
American Phalanx in Monmouth County, New Jersey, and 
elsewhere, Fourier's plan of life, with its stress on order in 
nature rather than justice (which is emphasized in practically 
all other types of Utopian social systems), appealed primarily 
to visionary persons, impatient of realistic thinking in social 
matters. At La Reunion, where in the beginning at least 
everything depended on farming, there were only two prac- 
tical farmers among some three hundred and fifty colonists. 
In 1858 the colony began to disintegrate rapidly, and before 
the end of the year the venture had definitely failed. With 
the breaking up of the community, many of the colonists left 
the vicinity of Dallas, but a few remained to make valuable 
contributions to the intellectual life of what was then a 
frontier village. Maximilien Reverchon, foreseeing the doom 
of the venture, had secured a small farm near Dallas, and had 
established the home which he occupied until his death in 

Here, in the lean years which elapsed between 1858, when 
the colony was abandoned, and 1864, when he married, Julien 
Reverchon lived a lonely, absorbed life, a young man intensely 
interested in plants and animals. Lacking the social graces of 
the cultivated Frenchman, he compensated for a sense of in- 


feriority by an intense devotion to the study of nature. He 
was a tall, gangling youth, not gifted in conversation, who 
drew the amused comment of the members of his own group. 
It was a distinct surprise when Marie Henry, daughter* 
of Paul Henry, a colonist, and granddaughter of Captain 
Deshogues, a soldier of the Old Guard at Waterloo — an at- 
tractive French girl who could have chosen the most polished 
man of her circle — married this timid, awkward boy. But 
Julien Reverchon did not appear to be deeply affected by his 
marriage. In the course of time his interest in nature grad- 
ually took the place of almost all others ; and the death twen- 
ty years later of his two sons led him to concentrate his full 
devotion upon his scientific activities. 

One who knew Reverchon as a fellow-colonist and citizen 
in those early years has recorded that he was a man of simple, 
unassuming demeanor; taciturn though not sullen; of brief 
yet cheerful speech; not social, but polite. His most strik- 
ing features were his observant, roving eyes, and a brow 
that projected prominently, like Darwin's. Upon the mem- 
bers of the colony he made an ineradicable impression : after 
the lapse of many years they still remember his tall form as he 
wandered over the hillsides with his botanical collecting case 
or his insect-net. There is an element of pathos in the pic- 
ture of Reverchon in his early years : the gangling boy denied 
the love of a mother devoted to him, because of his father's 
senseless devotion to social panaceas and will-o'-the-wisps ; the 
fine sensitive, nature wrapped up in a clodhopper body; and 
the hard frontier conditions repressing a child of the beautiful 
and cultured city of southern France. Julien Reverchon's 
marriage gave him the hope of heirs — little more, for it 
could hardly be called a happy one. And then after a time 
that last hope fled, and he faced a childless old age. 

Yet, for all Reverchon's retiring nature and self-contained 
way of life, on the dairy-farm west of Dallas from which 


he gained a meager livelihood, he can hardly have remained 
wholly untouched by the surge and bustle of the frontier com- 
munity. He saw the village of Dallas grow from a collection 
of straggling streets and scanty houses in 1856 to a town of 
almost five thousand inhabitants in 1870, six years after his 
marriage. He saw it after the coming of the railroads in the 
early 'seventies boom to a town of more than ten thousand 
inhabitants in 1880, and finally, in 1900, attain a population 
of some forty thousand. He saw Dallas change from a com- 
munity of immigrants who had brought with them the stable 
traditions of the Old South, to a heterogeneous, chaotic, un- 
assimilated population to which every state in the Union and 
every country of Europe had made its contribution. He 
lived to see the little frontier town become the bustling com- 
mercial distributing center for eighteen counties, so busy that 
a special police force was necessary in 1875 to prevent con- 
gestion of wagons in the streets. He saw the fruition of 
early cultural movements in that raw community : the Dallas 
Library, founded in 1871; the Dallas College, in 1873; and 
the formation of a literary and scientific coterie in which 
Colonel John Henry Brown, the historian, and Jacob Boll 
were leading lights. He saw the building of Field's Theater, 
where, sandwiched in between 'Variety theaters" (which in 
later days drew the editorial fire of Captain Rust's The South- 
ern Mercury), were presented such diverse attractions as 
Bishop Alexander C. Garrett's lecture on Darwin's Descent of 
Man (October 25, 1875), and Victoria Woodhull's appearance 
in March of 1876, when, after an hour-and-a-half lecture on 
some subject too scandalous to be mentioned in the news- 
papers — probably Woman's Suffrage — she was led off the 
stage by her sister, Tennessee Claflin, before a completely 
mystified audience. 

There may have been much truth in the statement of the 
Dallas Herald in 1876 that Dallas had as much culture as 


any city of its size in the Southwest, and that the great ma- 
jority of the people who settled there had stood well in their 
home communities, having come to Texas in most instances to 
improve fortunes shattered by the Civil War. But many 
characteristics of Dallas in the 'seventies must be explained 
by the chaotic state of a somewhat primitive society almost 
overwhelmed by the rush of a heterogenous population to the 
frontier. Bishop Garrett, Eliza Calvert Hall (Mrs. Oben- 
chain), Brown, Boll, and Reverchon were almost anomalous 
representatives of orderly and civilized society amid this flux 
of humanity. 

The years of Reverchon's life immediately after his mar- 
riage were almost barren of scientific results. As Dr. Eberle 
said in his obituary notice of Reverchon, the "needed atten- 
tion to his farm and business interests [curtailed the time] 
which he wished to devote to [science], but as he became more 
comfortable he was enabled to enlarge his [botanical] collec- 
tion with more satisfaction, and also entered into correspond- 
ence with the foremost botanists of the country, notably Asa 
Gray, Sereno Watson, Engelmann, and Trelease." It seems 
a pity, to one looking back over the past, that Reverchon did 
not "wrest the stars from their concurrences" as did his friend 
Jacob Boll, or Gustaf Belf rage. Here before him lay north- 
central Texas, botanically almost virgin country. To the 
west and northwest lay territory wholly unexplored. In fact, 
Lindheimer's rich collections of plants from the New Braun- 
fels region and Wright's admirable work represented almost 
the only scientific investigations which had been carried on in 
the interior of the state. But it was not until the arrival of 
Jacob Boll in the village of Dallas in 1869, to make his abun- 
dant collections for the Harvard Museum, that Reverchon was 
stimulated to a renewed devotion to his early botanical inter- 
ests. He began once more to build up a herbarium of local 
botanical specimens, and continued the work through the 


years with such effectiveness that at his death his collection, 
comprising, it is said, about twenty thousand specimens of 
more than two thousand six hundred species of the Texas 
flora, was the best collection of the plants of the state in exist- 

After Boll returned from Switzerland and from Cambridge, 
in 1874, and decided to make his home in Dallas, Reverchon 
became a fast friend of the Swiss naturalist. Edward Drink- 
er Cope of Philadelphia was indebted to Reverchon for his 
meeting with Boll in 1877, when he employed Boll as fossil- 
collector from the Texas Permian. I quote in substance 
Reverchon's account of the transaction, related from memory 
in 1902, some three years before his death, to his heir, Dr. 
R. M. Freeman: 

Professor Cope had seen my name in connection with some 
scientific collections of plants, and while he was in Texas in 
1877, came up from Houston to offer me a job as collector 
for him. I was not a geologist, but a botanist, so refused the 
offer, and suggested Jacob Boll. As I recall it, he offered me 
$300 monthly, and expenses ; also a wagon and team. I pre- 
sume he made the same offer to Boll. Boll accepted. After 
Boll's death, he again wrote me regarding some one to take the 
vacant place, and I suggested Old Man Cummins. Cummins 
took the place and held it for three years. 

In the archives of the Gray Herbarium at Cambridge are 
to be found letters written by Reverchon to Asa Gray, Sereno 
Watson, and the Reverend Thomas Morong — all botanists ac- 
tively working on the flora of the Southwest. The first letter 
of Reverchon to Gray that has been preserved is dated Oc- 
tober 28, 1877; and there are simple, cordial, earnest, even 
zealous letters on personal and botanical subjects up to the 
time of Gray's death in 1888. In these letters we see how the 
old flame of interest and the desire to work again in botanical 
fields was consuming Reverchon. But he was, perforce, 
first horticulturist and dairyman, and then botanist, so that ex- 



tended trips for botanical collecting were hardly possible for 
him. Nevertheless, Reverchon seized some opportunities. 
In 1877 he discovered about a dozen new species of plants in 
Dallas County alone; and during the first two weeks in Au- 
gust of that year, stimulated by a visit from Gray, he made a 
flying trip to Brown County, collecting on the way in some 
eleven counties south and west of Dallas. In 1879 Reverchon 
collected most of the spring and summer near Dallas, and in 
September and October of that year he and Boll accompanied 
a group of land-locators and agents into Baylor County and 
other parts of Northwest Texas, Boll collecting fossils and 
Reverchon seeking for plants. It was here, in September, 

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"on a sand island of the Brazos River near Seymour, Baylor 
County," that Reverchon found the plant (one of the Spurge 
family) from which' Asa Gray named the genus Revcrchonia, 
thus immortalizing the collector. Gray wrote: "With great 
satisfaction I dedicate [this genus] to M. Jules Reverchon of 
Dallas, Texas, ... a valuable correspondent, an acute and sed- 
ulous botanist." Gray also honored Reverchon with a Cam- 

In May of 1880 Reverchon collected plants at Fort Worth. 
Two years later he made a month-long trip to West Texas, 
going as far as Fort Concho, in present Tom Green County. 
He then turned back to the Colorado River, and explored in 
Mitchell, Nolan, and Scurry Counties. It was while he was 
away from home on this trip that his two sons fell ill of ty- 
phoid fever and died. 

Reverchon made his last extended trip in 1885, traveling 
in a wagon, accompanied by his wife, into Southwest Texas. 
Here he explored a very interesting country — the whole basin 
of the Llano River, and most of the Edwards Plateau region 
at the headwaters of the Guadalupe, Medina, Cibolo, Hondo, 
Seco, and Sabinal rivers. Reverchon and his wife left Dal- 
las in May and, retarded by almost constant rains, reached 
Uvalde the last of June. His most successful collecting was 
clone in the valley of the Llano and in Sabinal Canyon — "a 
paradise for the botanist," as he found it. 

Other phases of Reverchon's scientific activity included 
membership in the Torrey Botanical Club, and the writing 
of papers contributed to the Bulletin of the club and to such 
other botanical and horticultural journals as the Botanical 
Gazette, Garden and Forest, and the American Botanist. In 
the last decade of his life he was Professor of Botany in the 
Baylor College of Medicine and Pharmacy at Dallas. 

Reverchon died at Dallas, December 30, 1905, and was 
buried in the old French cemetery near the site of La Reunion. 


His collection of plants was secured by the Missouri Botanical 
Garden at St. Louis, where it is still preserved. 

Reverchon's work as a botanical collector evoked grateful 
response and appreciation from other botanists besides Asa 
Gray. Thus Vasey, a specialist in grasses, named a species of 
each of the three botanical genera Aristida, Diplachne, and 
Paniciim in his honor. Wright named a species of sedge for 
Reverchon ; Sargent, the tree-specialist, author of the famous 
North American Silva, named a fine, showy red-thorn Cra- 
taegus reverchonii; and Sereno Watson named two wild beans 
of the genera Psoralea and Vicia after Reverchon. Such hon- 
ors as these I mention as concrete evidence of the esteem in 
which Reverchon was held by competent botanists. The print- 
ed dedications of new species by these men are explicit on this 
point. Thus Sargent in dedicating Crataegus reverchonii 
says : "I am glad to associate with this plant, which is one of 
the most distinct species of the crus-galli group, the name of 
the accomplished botanist and indefatigable collector, M. 
Julien Reverchon, who first made it known." 

In surveying the life of Reverchon one is impressed by his 
great dependence upon his environment. At the time when 
he came to America with his father, the congenial surround- 
ings of his childhood and his precocious interest in botany 
might have led any observer to expect great things from the 
young Frenchman. In a society given over to intellectual in- 
terests, where science and art spoke from out centuries of cul- 
ture, Reverchon might easily have become famous as a scien- 
tist. But he was not of the stuff that buckles and bows an 
environment to suit the inward will. At La Reunion, the 
rigors of life on the frontier almost overwhelmed his early de- 
sire to work in botany; like Vesalius at the Spanish court, 
though perhaps for a different reason, he well-nigh forgot the 
early gleams which had beckoned him toward a scientific ca- 


reer. But at last, just as the duodecimo of Fallopius came to 
reawaken forgetting Vesalius, Jacob Boll brought a new stim- 
ulus to Reverchon. Reverchon rose to repossess the past "and 
see what usury age can take from time." During the last three 
decades of his life it was granted him to make some amends 
for his early turning aside from the chosen path and his partial 
surrender to the frontier way of life. 

Reverchon's career is symbolic. Texas has been a vortex 
into which have flowed thought-currents from every part of 
Europe. But too often the force of the currents has been 
spent without result, as men became exhausted in the struggle 
which all newcomers had to make in order to maintain them- 
selves in a new and unsubdued environment. La Reunion 
itself went to pieces because the strength of the colonists was 
unequal to this conflict. But the exceptions to the rule are all 
the more remarkable. Thrice fortunate are they of whom it 
could be said, as it could be said of Boll and Lindheimer and 
Wright, and perhaps of Belf rage : "What they will, they zvill." 



THE reader who has followed the story of science in 
frontier Texas through the earlier chapters of this narra- 
tive will have realized, as I have been forced to conclude many 
times in tracing the careers of early-day scientists, that 
frontier Texas escapes the easy adjectives sometimes used to 
describe it. The simple picture of farmers and cattlemen 
fighting Mexicans and Indians becomes less simple as our 
knowledge of the intellectual history of the region is gradu- 
ally increased. Nearly every one of the men who figure in 
this study represents another complexity in the tradition of the 
state, a variation, great or small, in the elements that have gone 
into the making of present-day Texas. German liberal and 
French Utopist, Genevese and Scot, the frontier naturalists, 
are a striking company. Yet perhaps the most exotic figure 
of all is Gustaf W. Belfrage, the Swedish nobleman who 
spent the last fifteen years of his life collecting insects in 

It is a vivid experience to read the inventory of his estate 
which was filed with the probate court of Bosque County in 
1883. This meager list of the few articles belonging to the 
scientist whose collections even then were scattered from 
Washington to St. Petersburg is almost indecent in its revela- 
tion of stark poverty. The following schedule, taken from the 
records of the court, includes every article of clothing or 
household furniture which the appraisers found in Belf rage's 
house : 



1 Gallon Can) 15 

2 wash basins) . . . value at 15 
2 coffee pots and 2 frying pans 25 
2 shoe brushes, 5c 1 can of Cyanili of Potassim 10 
1 clock 1.00 
1 looking glass 25 
1 bed quilt 75 
1 sheet and piece of ducking 25 
1 pr of gloves 40 
1 light summer coat 45 
1 Jeanes coat 25 
1 Linen coat 25 
1 pr of pants 25 
1 table cloth (oil) 25 
1 Razor 40 
7 shirt collars and 2 boxes blackening 40 

1 Flannell Undershirt 35 

2 handkerchief 2 scarfs 25 
1 woolen scarf 30 
1 pr of old slippers 1 old straw hat 25 
1 sofa 5.00 
1 straw mattress and cotton pillar 35 
1 Work table 15 

1 stove and drum 5.00 
4 cane bottomed chairs 3.00 

2 cotton towels 05 
1 frying pan 25 

But in the house were also these : 

Library. The collection of Books comprised 194 bound and 
unbound, volumes a pamphlets, nearly all of which were works 
& treatises on subjects, relating to Zoology. It being a greed 
that not the probable scientific value of the different articles of 
property belonging to the Estate but the price that may be ob- 
tainable at home should be assumed as basis for the appraise- 
ment the [collection?] was valued at $35.00 

Collection of Insects. The insect collection was found to 
contain, probable errors & ommissions, except [ed] ... a total 
of pinned insects in good order, or but slightly damaged. Thir- 
ty six thousand Eight hundred and eighty one (36881) speci- 
mens, Besides those pinned there are also Coleoptera in papers, 
saw dust and in alcohol, some Lepidoptra in papers and pinned 


on the stretch board, and several boxes containing insects more 

or less damaged. . . . the value of the whole collection was 

fixed at ... . $368.00 

1 Box of empty bottles 25 

1 Students Kerosine lamp 1.00 

1 value [bale?] of manuscript no value 

1 bottle of ink 1 bottle of perfume 40 

1 dozen Faber lead pencils 20 

1 box and lot of empty bottles 50 

And, Last of all, 

1 homebuilding (no lot or land) 50.00 

The total value of the estate, including the insect collections 
and books, was set at $491.40. 

The biographer of Gustaf Belfrage must somehow find a 
principle of unity that will enable him to bring into focus such 
diverse elements of the man's story as are suggested by the 
ancestral vaults of his titled ancestors in the Riddarholms 
kyrkan at Stockholm ; the thousands of insects, mounted with 
the most intelligent care, which are preserved by many 
museums in the United States and Europe; and, in the Nor- 
wegian cemetery near Norse, Texas, an unmarked grave. 
From materials as varied as these must be pieced together an 
account of this scientist whose life belongs, after all, to the 
history of Texas, and thus to the history of the American 

An idea of Belfrage's contribution to American zoology 
can be gained from Professor Calvert's life of Ezra Town- 
send Cresson, published in 1929 in the Transactions of the 
American Entomological Society. Cresson's notable study, 
Hymenoptera Texana, which appeared in 1872, says Profes- 
sor Calvert, was based in large part on the "splendid collection 
of insects by Mr. G. W. Belfrage, made in Bosque Co., the fine 
collection in the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Cam- 
bridge, Mass., made by Mr. J. Boll in Dallas Co., and a small 


collection of Mr. L. Heiligbrodt, made in Travis and Bastrop 
Counties. " Cresson's monograph listed more than six hundred 
species of hymenopterous insects, distributed among nineteen 
families, and described nearly three hundred species new to 
science. It was a monumental work. And of the new species 
described, 243 were based on specimens gathered by Belf rage : 
surely an amazing yield for one small county ! 

Yet the antecedents and the life of this extraordinary man 
were long almost completely shrouded in obscurity. It was 
known that early in the year 1867 he began to sell insects, 
entomostraca, and mollusks collected near Waco, Texas ; that 
the Naturhistoriska Riksmuseum at Stockholm, the British 
Museum, the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Cambridge, 
the Peabody Academy of Science at Salem, the Boston Society 
of Natural History, and the museums in Brussels and St. 
Petersburg all possess valuable collections of Texan insects 
acquired from Belf rage during the period 1868-73; and that 
the United States National Museum has the very fine Belf rage 
Collection purchased after Belf rage's death. Most zoologists 
knew Belfrage's name through his advertisements printed in 
British, German, and American journals between 1869 and 
1881, and through frequent references to him, always brief, 
in the publications of entomologists in many lands. His name, 
further, is preserved for all time in the scientific designations 
of a score and more of species, chiefly insects. 

But whence he came was unknown until recently; indeed, 
the man himself was almost forgotten save by the few curious 
minds who may have encountered the brief obituary note 
published in the American Naturalist in 1883, the year fol- 
lowing Belfrage's death. The details of Belfrage's life were 
unknown even to those best informed regarding the history of 
American entomology; and Dr. Sjostedt, director of the en- 
tomological section of the Naturhistoriska Riksmuseum in 
Stockholm, told me that none of the many members of the 


Belf rage family in Sweden from whom he had sought details 
could give him any information concerning the naturalist. 

Even the Scandinavian settlers in central Texas among 
whom Belf rage lived from 1868 to 1882 knew almost nothing 
about him. In the course of my investigations, during which 
I interviewed practically every old settler, Norwegian or 
Swedish, who conceivably might be a source of information, 
I continually encountered the element of mystery. "He was 
descended from Swedish royalty," said one. "He was a 
Swedish Baron," said another. "His father was a General in 
the Swedish army," said a third. " 'Why did he come to 
America?' I do not know. Mr. Belf rage was a courteous 
gentleman who treated everyone with respect. He minded 
strictly his own business" — with a covert glance at the ques- 
tioner — "and I believe never made anyone his confidant. He 
had his faults — grave faults — but you must not mention them, 
and blemish his noble character." Words to this effect time 
after time from grave old men, who treated me with simple 
old-world courtesy. Who was this "G. W. Belfrage" who 
could so impress a simple country people that fifty years after 
his death they would resent even a suggestion of criticism of 
their hero by an outsider ? 

Gustaf Wilhelm Belfrage was born in Stockholm, Sweden, 
April 12, 1834, and died on Meridian Creek, near the hamlet 
of Norse, in Bosque County, Texas, December 7, 1882. He 
was derived from an ancient Scotch-Swedish family, being 
the tenth in line of direct descent from William Belfrage of 
Pennington and Tulliochie, Lord High Admiral of Scotland, 
and sixth in line from Hans Befritz Belfrage. The latter, 
who was the son of Magister Henry Belfrage and his wife, 
Janette Balram (daughter of James, Baron of Balram, and 
Elizabeth Stuart), came with his mother to Sweden in 1624 
as a twelve-year-old boy. It has been suggested that the 


migration of Janette Balram may have been due to religious 
persecution. After he had reached manhood, Hans Belf rage 
established a home at Vanersborg on the southern shore of 
Lake Vanern, in the province of Vastergoland. He was 
evidently an ambitious man, holding the most responsible 
positions in his town, and acquiring several farms (or 
"estates'' ) in the vicinity. From the eldest son of Hans Bel- 
frage, Hendrick Johan Belfrage, who became a lieutenant- 
colonel of artillery, is traced the descent of Gustaf W. Bel- 

The Belfrage clan in Sweden has been to a great extent a 
military family, though many members have been eminent in 
business and banking. In the Scottish line, the purely intel- 
lectual note is more striking. Among the eminent members of 
it are the Reverend Dr. Henry Belfrage (1774-1835), noted 
divine and leader of the Secession Kirk of Scotland ; his sister 
Joanna Belfrage Picken, Scottish-Canadian poet; Andrew 
Belfrage, Scottish- Canadian artist and poet; a prominent 
living London physician; two British-American actors and 
playwrights ; and a family of British engineers. Several mem- 
bers of the Swedish branch of the family have migrated to 
America. The Swedish branch is the more numerous. 

Perhaps the most eminent of the whole Swedish line was 
Gustaf Belfrage's grandfather, Major-General Johan Len- 
nart Belfrage. He was possessed of most unusual ability in 
managing his properties and investing funds, and came to 
own more than a score of farms in Skaraborgs-lan, a province 
of Vastergotland. A humane man of great simplicity of life, 
noted for his kindness to his tenants and his generosity to the 
Church, the Major-General lived a frugal, contained life. In 
1795' he married the Baroness Hedwig Charlotta von Kohler, 
daughter of Baron Axel Johan von Kohler, vice-president of 
the High Court of Justice in Gotaland. Shortly thereafter, 
he and his bride went to live at Malma sateri (Malma manor) 


in Skaraborgs-lan. Here the Major-General lived for perhaps 
twenty- five years, and here died in 1820 at the age of sixty- 
six. At that time his son Axel Ake, Gustaf's father, was 
twenty-four years old, a newly appointed lieutenant in the 
Svea Lifeguard. 

Afzelius, the Swedish historian and mythologist, best 
known as a collector of Swedish folk-songs, has left in his 
memoirs a description of the Major-General and of Gustaf's 
father, whom he describes as "a beautiful light-haired boy in 
shirt-sleeves, lying on the floor, playing with his tin soldiers'' ; 
the Major-General, he says, was a "large-built, stately man, 
with a countenance that begot confidence in the beholder." 
As I write, a photograph of the Major-General's portrait by 
Sparrgren lies before me. Surely a misrepresenting picture ! 
Here we behold a tall figure in uniform, with a long Nordic 
face dominated by cold blue eyes; a parican nose, a small, 
positive mouth, and a firm chin — the whole countenance filled 
with a stern pride. But in actuality the man was all benevo- 
lence, kindness, justice. An autobiography written in 1814 
contains the following passage, whose accuracy is corrobo- 
rated by contemporary testimony : "My estates shall bear true 
witness that with the blessing of God frugality and industry 
bring human support and happiness. Twenty-seven of my 
cultivated and built-up little farms are now settled by well-to- 
do and industrious tenants." This was Gustaf's paternal 

After the death of the Major-General, the property began 
to be dissipated. Gustaf's father, Axel Ake Belfrage, the 
General's oldest child, lacked completely his father's com- 
pentence in money matters. Axel seems, however, to have had 
a successful career in the army and at court. He attained a 
captaincy, and in 1830 was made Chamberlain in the palace 
at Stockholm. On December 30 of the same year Axel mar- 
ried the Baroness Margareta Sophia Leijonhufvud, daughter 


of Baron Axel Gabriel Leijonhufvud and his wife, Maria 
Fredrika von Spangen. The Leijonhufvud family, one of the 
most noble of Sweden, dates back to the fourteenth century. 
It has given many patriots, men and women, to Swedish 
history. Gustavus I, liberator of his country and founder of 
the Swedish royal line of Vasa, married a woman of the 
family as his second wife. One branch of the family who 
have translated the old Swedish name into the German equiva- 
lent "Lowenhaupt" hold the dignity of counts or earls. So 
distinguished is the family that its members are honored by 
burial in the Riddarholms kyrka in Stockholm, the West- 
minster Abbey of Sweden. 

The wedding of the Chamberlain Belf rage and the Baroness 
Leijonhufvud took place in the fashionable Klara kyrka in 
Stockholm, with Pastor Franzen, the eminent Swedish poet, 
officiating. Of this union came two sons : Axel Leonard, born 
in 1832, and the subject of this biography, Gustaf Wilhelm, 
born two years later. 

The marriage which began auspiciously in the union of two 
distinguished lines of Swedish nobility ended disastrously; in 
1849 Gustaf s mother, the Baroness Leijonhufvud, secured a 
legal separation from the Chamberlain. Apparently no one 
knows the real reason for the separation. Dr. Sixten Bel- 
frage, as well as Jenny Belfrage in her Bidrag till Sldkten 
Belf rages Historia, states that "the causes of the marital 
separation are unknown, but it may have been due to Axel 
Ake's inability to handle funds." If Gustaf Wilhelm shall 
later be called a spendthrift and a wastrel, it will be well to 
recall his father's character and Gustaf 's early experiences. 

Axel Ake Belfrage advanced to the rank of brevet-major 
in 1840, and later (1844) quitted the army. He returned to 
Mariestad on Lake Vaner, near his birthplace, where he died 
in 1885 at the venerable age of eighty-nine. 

Gustaf 's father, while he lacked the progressiveness of the 


Major-General, nevertheless was actively interested in agri- 
culture, as is evidenced by his election to membership in the 
Academy of Agriculture in Stockholm. Of his two sons, the 
elder, Axel Leonard, lived a life similar to his father's, ex- 
cept that he had no country estates to attend, for these had 
long since been sold by order of a bankruptcy-court. He was 
an officer in a regiment in Stockholm and served as aide-de- 
camp to the Grand Duke of Ostergotland, later King Oscar II. 
Gustaf 's brother survived his father but a short time, dying 
on December 31, 1885. He had succeeded to the title of 
caput familice of the Belf rage clan in Sweden on the death of 
his father the preceding April. Since both of the Chamber- 
lain's sons died without issue, this branch of the family be- 
came extinct. 

So much for the background and general family history. 
But what of Gustaf Wilhelm, the naturalist? The family 
genealogy dismisses him with the simple note : " Entomologist. 
Resided the last years of his life in Cli[f]ton in Texas, U. S. 
A., whence he sent home to the Academy of Science in Sweden 
large collections of insects. Died Dec. 7, 1882, in Cliff ] ton." 

The first bits of information regarding Gustaf Belfrage's 
early life which I was able to procure were furnished me 
through the kindness of Dr. Sixten Belf rage. I translate part 
of a letter from him, with a few supplementary notes : 

Unfortunately, very little is known about G. W. B. In 
January, 1854 [at the age of twenty], he became a student in 
the Skogsinstitnt [the high school of forestry] in Stockholm, 
where are trained chiefs of the various districts of the Crown 
Forests. For some unknown reason G. W. B. was never 
graduated. The exact time of his departure from the Skogs- 
institnt is not known. ... [In the Adelskalendar for 1857, 
G. W. B. is recorded as a "steward of the forest" at Stjarn- 
sund; in 1863 and 1865, he is recorded as "living in America."] 
... In these accounts, the interesting fact is that G. W. B. 
was steward on the Stjarnsund property in Narke. This prop- 
erty was at the time the private property of the Royal House, 


and the fact that G. W. B. had this post was undoubtedly due 
to his father's position as Chamberlain, or the influence of his 
mother's family. It is possible to believe that the reason that 
B. left the Skogsinstitut was that this position, which was 
undoubtedly just as good as being a royal forester in the employ 
of the government, presented itself to him. But it may also 
be that they procured this position for B. because he did not 
have a degree that would give him a right to a government 
position. It seems that he did not stay very long at Stjarnsund. 
The fact that the Kalendar of 1860 gives him merely the title 
"steward of the forest" points to the fact that at that time he 
had no position . . . [ Bel f rage's] journey to America must 
have taken place at the earliest in 1860, at the latest in 1862 
[since the statements in the calendars are based on the data of 
the preceding year]. . . . Perhaps the most correct supposition 
is the year 1861 or 1862. 

Such was the best information that Professor Sixten Bel- 
frage's careful search elicited. Within the past few years, 
however, through the efforts of Professor Dr. Yngve 
Sjostedt, who caused the archives of the Naturhistoriska 
Riksmuseum and of the Academy of Sciences in Stockholm 
to be searched, more information has been brought to light 
concerning Belfrage's departure from Sweden and his move- 
ments in America. In addition, the United States National 
Museum, the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Cambridge, 
and the Boston Society of Natural History possess data con- 
cerning some of the obscure points of Belfrage's life. 

Belfrage actually left Sweden for America late in 1859 or 
early in 1860; during his last few months in Sweden he had 
been living in retirement at Koping, a small town west of 
Stockholm at the head of Lake Malar. He was about twenty- 
six years old. The real reasons for his leaving the homeland 
are still not clear ; it is certain only that "in some way be made 
it impossible for himself to remain in Sweden." Men who 
knew Belfrage in Texas years later have told me that he 
was disinherited, and that he came to America after an un- 


fortunate marriage. Belf rage undoubtedly made these state- 
ments to one or two intimate companions, but we must remem- 
ber that he was always fond of mystifying his acquaintances 
regarding his past. Dr. Sixten Belf rage says : 

That he was married is not known: [it is] not improbable, but 
it seems unreasonable to suppose that such an event would not 
have been reported by his brother to the Calendar of the 
Nobility. Perhaps it was a mesalliance that [his family] sought 
to conceal ; or perhaps it was not a legitimate marriage. 

Wrangel and Bergstrom, in their genealogy of Swedish 
nobles, and Anrep state that Gustaf died unmarried. 

In a letter written March 18, 1859, to the great Swedish 
entomologist, Professor C. J. Boheman, Belfrage speaks of 
his prospective departure as final: "I am going to leave my 
country forever," he says, "and depart for the land of the 
Yankees." His letters to Professor Boheman and to Dr. 
Carl Stal, members of the staff of the Naturhistoriska Riks- 
museum, reveal that for some time he had contemplated leav- 
ing Sweden, and that he looked to his family for an annual 

Some additional light is thrown on Belfrage's life before 
he came to America by other letters, which suggest that be- 
fore 1857 he had been on terms of almost filial intimacy with 
Professor Boheman. It is possible that Belfrage had met 
Boheman through his father, who may have known Boheman 
in the army. Also, certain passages in the very intimate 
letters from G. W. Belfrage to Carl Stal raise the question 
whether the two had not at some time studied together at 
Uppsala. Unfortunately, we do not have any of the letters 
that Belfrage received from Swedish correspondents, for at 
his death these were burned. 

Belfrage's first letter from America, written from New 
York in response to a letter several months old from Boheman, 
is dated August 8, 1861. From this document it appears that 


Belfrage has been in America for some time; that he has 
already sent a collection of insects to Boheman ; and that he is 
"suffering from that common disease called a lack of money." 
The war-excitement is raging in America, and his pecuniary 
embarrassment offers Belfrage the hard alternatives of selling 
his insect collections at a great sacrifice, enlisting in the Fed- 
eral army, or starving. A few other letters written late in 
1861 give fleeting glimpses of mental and physical distress. 
Belfrage's want was so great that on one occasion he was 
without food or shelter for two days and nights, and was 
obliged to sell valuable collections of insects at a ruinously low 

After a year's silence Belfrage emerges again in the cor- 
respondence, this time in Chicago. Here he remained until 
the end of 1866, with occasional collecting trips along Lake 
Michigan and Lake Superior, and to the Swedish colony at 
Altona, Knox County, Illinois. One letter written in 1864 
and one in 1865 reveal Belfrage's two most pressing needs: 
insect needles in quantity for use in mounting his collections, 
and money, always money. 

During 1866 Belfrage entered into correspondence with all 
of the leading American entomologists: Cresson, Ulke, 
Packard, Uhler, Henshaw, Hagen, Scudder, and the rest. 
They encouraged him to carry out a long-cherished plan to go 
to Texas on an insect-collecting trip. Late in 1866, accord- 
ingly, armed with letters from the American Consul at Stock- 
holm and the Swedish Academy of Science stating that he was 
a Swedish subject collecting for the Academy, Belfrage set 
out. "If I go South without such letters," he wrote to Bohe- 
man, "you will understand what kind of brotherly love I can 
expect from the Southerners after having lived among the 
'damned Yankees !' " He arrived in Houston from New 
Orleans on January 4, 1867, penniless, or nearly so; but soon 
he was able to secure an income from sales of insects, par- 


ticularly to American and British students, who paid much 
better than Continental entomologists. 

Among the tales about himself that Belfrage liked to cir- 
culate are some picturesque anecdotes concerning his life just 
preceding his arrival in Texas. He loved to recount to his 
companions how he had hoboed through the state of South 
Carolina during the War, and then had arrived in Waco, 
penniless, where he was befriended by a Swedish merchant, 
Samuel J. Forsgard. To others he told how he had got a 
thousand dollars in Waco by enlisting as a substitute in the 
Confederate army just before the end of the War. These 
amusing tales are without foundation. Belfrage, as we 
have seen, was in Chicago until 1866, and came to Texas with 
definite commissions to collect insects. 

He had long wished to explore and collect in West Texas 
and New Mexico ; the plan recurs like a fixed idea in his cor- 
respondence. More than once during his residence in Hous- 
ton in 1867 and the first half of 1868, he expresses the hope 
that he may be able to procure a mule and wagon and travel 
into West Texas so that he may "collect a hundred thousand 
insects per annum"; but no opportunity for making this ex- 
pedition offered itself. In April of 1867 he made a fruitless 
exploring and collecting trip to Quintana, at the mouth of the 
Brazos River. The only other event of importance during 
Belf rage's stay in Houston was a fire in his lodgings in Feb- 
ruary of 1868 which destroyed all his books and many of his 
early collections. 

From the very first of his residence in Texas Belfrage en- 
tered into correspondence with numerous entomologists in 
Europe and America, and soon established himself as a most 
gifted and skilful collector. His correspondence with Cresson 
dates at least from March of 1867; and in the years 1868-71 
he sold large collections of insects to the Swedish Academy of 
Science at Stockholm, which are recorded in various volumes 



of the transactions of the Academy. He sold to Dr. H. A. 
Hagen a collection of insects from Waco (including Neurop- 
tera, Orthoptera, Hymentoptera, and Hemiptera), which 
Hagen later presented to the Museum of Comparative Zool- 
ogy of Harvard College; and in 1869 Belfrage exchanged a 
large collection of Texan insects with the Boston Society of 
Natural History, through Scudder and Packard. He also 
sent to the Peabody Academy of Science at Salem abundant 
specimens of certain Entomostraca, Thysanura, and Ixodes 
from Texas, and as early as 1872 had gained among the sci- 
entists of that institution an enviable reputation as a "careful 
and observing collector of insects. " Packard, in the introduc- 






Mlii 4-v-W-HJ-SiP 





tion to his work "Geometric! Moths of the United States," 
acknowledges his indebtedness to "large collections in the 
Museum of the Peabody Academy of Science . . . containing 
many types of new species from Bosque County, Texas, col- 
lected by G. W. Belfrage, and from Dallas, Texas, through 
Mr. Boll. I have also had the privilege of examining the types 
of a few Texas species [collected by Boll?] contained in the 
Museum of Comparative Zoology. I have also received the 
larvae and notes on a few species from Mr. Belfrage." The 
Texas collection in the Naturhistoriska Riksmuseum at Stock- 
holm, says Professor Dr. Sjostedt, "is quite a comprehensive 
collection, and specimens are abundantly scattered throughout 
the insect orders of the Museum." 

Belfrage's mother had died early in the year 1867, leaving 
him from her estate the interest on a fund of about ten thou- 
sand dollars — say an income of between $300 and $400 a year 
— which was sent to Belfrage annually through his uncle, 
General Baron A. G. Leijonhufvud. By this time the other 
members of Belfrage's immediate family had completely cut 
him off, and doubtless his older brother had not served exactly 
in the role of peacemaker. An observer inclined to conjecture 
might draw certain inferences from the situation, seeing the 
older son following closely in his father's footsteps and doubt- 
less overawing the younger, who responded by a defense re- 
action of the revolt type. No doubt in his father's and elder 
brother's estimation, Gustaf was a ne'er-do-well; yet he ap- 
pears to have retained the confidence of his mother. 

The added income from her estate led Belfrage to carry out 
his plan of moving to the hamlet of Norse, in Bosque County, 
in the summer of 1868. During the late autumn of that year 
he collected insects in the pine woods of East Texas, and in 
April, 1869, he made a month-long trip to the Mexican border, 
probably at Laredo. During the following year he went on an 
expedition into West Texas that lasted two months. After 


each of these trips he was for a long time afflicted with mala- 
rial fever. It is evident from these facts that Belfrage col- 
lected in several parts of Texas, not merely in Bosque and 
McLennan counties, as Cresson and others have thought. 

As far as I can discover, the great trip to New Mexico 
Belfrage had planned never materialized. In 1869 he had 
announced his intention of making the trip in the Canadian 
Entomologist, saying : 

At the request of several gentlemen in this country and 
Europe, I intend to make an extensive eight or nine months' 
Entomological collecting tour in Western Texas and Southern 
New Mexico, if sufficient means can be raised. ... I shall be 
obliged by receiving early information from all desiring to 
subscribe, stating at the same time their wishes. ... If any- 
thing should happen during the tour to prevent my fulfilling 
my engagements, or if anyone dislikes his share, the money will 
be refunded. 

But Belf rage's advertisements as late as 1877 indicate that 
this plan had not been carried out. 

Although Belfrage had taken up his residence near Norse 
in 1868, until 1875 he received his mail through the Forsgards 
at Waco. After that his mail address was "Clifton," nine 
miles from Norse. From 1870 to 1879 Belfrage lived with 
Mr. Carl Questad, an old Scandinavian farmer whose house 
stood on a beautiful hill near Norse overlooking Meridian 
Creek. In this locality of rare beauty the naturalist made 
many of his magnificent collections. When I visited the place 
in the spring of 1930, Dr. O. M. Olson pointed out two great 
live-oak trees, saying: "Belfrage set his light-traps under 
those trees to catch night-flying insects nearly sixty years ago. 
He used lights to attract insects, and most of his work was 
done at night. We got magnificent beetles and moths in this 
way: I remember how delighted Belfrage was with the first 
pair of glowworms [Lampyrid beetle larvae] that I found 
for him : in his generous, carefree way he gave me hve dollars 


for the pair. Then he would sell them for a tenth of that 
amount !" 

In 1879 Belfrage built himself a small hut on Meridian 
Creek on the Chris Pederson farm, about three miles from the 
Questad place. Here he lived alone for the few remaining 
years of his life, and here he was found dead, on the morning 
of December 7, 1882. 

Belfrage was a prodigious collector: as early as 1869 he 
advertised an exchange-collection of 25,000 Texan insects. 
He had already won the cordial approval of naturalists as "an 
active and zealous collector," and his mounting of specimens 
attracted especial commendation. He sold insects continually 
and extensively throughout the thirteen subsequent years, 
both to amateurs and to serious students. Yet at the time of 
his death his collections comprised 36,881 pinned specimens in 
good order, in addition to beetles in paper, sawdust, and 
alcohol, and butterflies in papers ! 

An editorial obituary notice in the American Naturalist, 
written, presumably, by Professor A. S. Packard, who had 
long been a correspondent of Belfrage, contains a striking- 
tribute to Belf rage's work as a collector. It is interesting to 
find Belfrage' s name once more coupled with that of Jacob 

If the insect fauna of Texas is, at the present time [1883], 
better known than that of most of the Western States of this 
continent, it is largely due to the skill and industry of Mr. 
Belfrage and the late Mr. Jacob Boll, who were the foremost 
among the few really careful and conscientious collectors in 
the country. The number of new and interesting species dis- 
covered by Mr. Belfrage is really astonishing, considering that 
they were collected in a very limited area of the state, and sev- 
eral of his discoveries were named after him by our most 
prominent entomologists. The care and neatness he exhibited 
in preserving and preparing his specimens, as well as the hon- 
esty with which he filled the orders of his numerous correspond- 


ents, deservedly procured him a reputation as a collector which 
extended far beyond the limits of this country. 

As far as I can learn, Belf rage published no entomological 
papers. In a letter to Cresson, dated July 26, 1873, Belfrage 
stated that he was working at a paper on the insects of Bosque 
County, but it was never published. Belf rage's letters to Stal 
give rise to the conjecture that this was the "bale of manu- 
script" listed by the appraisers of Belfrage's estate as being 
"of no value." It was burned, along with his letters. 

Apparently no portrait of Belfrage is extant, either in 
Europe or in America. Dr. Knut Belfrage of Lidkoping, 
Sweden, possesses a great collection of family portraits, but 
none of the entomologist. In the absence of portraits, one 
must depend on accounts of his appearance and personal char- 
acteristics furnished by contemporaries of Belfrage still liv- 
ing. Mr. H. C. Bradstreet, postal clerk at Clifton during the 
naturalist's sojourn there, says that he was "a very tall man, 
spare, face tolerably full, with a moustache ; of jovial disposi- 
tion and expression ; an active man . . . very highly educated." 
Mr. Frank Kell, President of the Wichita Falls & Southern 
Railway, says of him : 

As a boy I well remember G. W. B., and knew of the work 
which he was carrying on in that section. He was not com- 
municative to anyone, and being only a small boy, I had no 
opportunity of learning anything whatever of his antecedents 
or individualities further than [that] he was generally recog- 
nized as a cultured man and one with pronounced eccentricities. 

Dr. O. M. Olson, Belfrage's personal physician and younger 
companion in collecting, says of his personal appearance : 

He was very tall, spare, broad-faced, moustached, weight 
160 pounds, with a jovial expression, and an agreeable, com- 
panionable disposition; in industry he was active and indefati- 
gable. The townspeople at Clifton thought very well of him. 


Mr. J. N. Colwick, president of the Bosque County Historical 
Society, records impressions of Belf rage that he gained as a 
boy of twelve years : 

He looked to me to be one of the tallest men I had ever 
seen (probably six feet three inches). He had deep blue eyes, 
and was a very slender man, features pleasant, and so was his 
disposition. . . . He was a truthful, reliable man: "his word 
was as good as his bond." . . . He was not of a social dispo- 
sition, but spoke pleasantly to those speaking to him. 

Even in Belfrage's later years, when his love of strong 
drink had seriously impaired his health, he still was a charm- 
ing, cultivated companion. The inventory of his estate shows 
his poverty toward the end of his life; there is evidence of a 
struggle against overwhelming personal temptation, yet in 
it all he retained some of the refinement of his youth and 
early manhood. Belfrage's intemperate habits, which dated 
back to his student days in Stockholm, grew upon him during 
his sojourn in Texas. General and excessive drinking was 
then much more common than it has been in later years. 
Whiskey was distilled in Bosque County, and sold for a dollar 
a gallon. As Belfrage grew older, in his solitude, the bottle 
mastered him. Again and again he fought to regain posses- 
sion of himself, with repeated failure. His credit became 
impaired ; often, in the absence of money, when the mania was 
upon him, he is said to have drained his specimen-jars of their 
alcohol. When a remittance came for specimens sent to sci- 
entists in England, Italy, France, or Russia, the money went 
quickly. A former drinking companion relates that a purse 
of gold rubles from Radochkoffsky was spent in a single 
night. Belfrage's death was due, officially, to "heart failure" 
— one wonders if it really did not result from acute alcoholism. 

Belfrage's friends — and mine — led me to an unmarked grave 
in a corner of a country churchyard, now part of a larger 


burial ground for the Norwegian church. As I looked over 
the newer plot, with its garish and ostentatious monuments, I 
recalled Madame de StaeTs indictment of Florence at the 
church of Santa Croce — that resting place of some of the most 
illustrious dead of Europe: Rossini, [Boccaccio], Machiavelli, 
Aretino, Michelangelo, Galileo. "Nous prions pour nos 
morts," said a priest. "Otii, vous avez raison. . . . Cest la 
settle propriete glorieuse qui vous reste." 

And to me this unmarked plot is more sacred than the flag- 
draped Riddarholms kyrka of far-off Stockholm, or the an- 
cestral vaults of the Leijonhufvuds. 

* * * 

And now this series of essays on Naturalists of the Frontier 
must have an end, even though the presentation of men and 
movements has been partial and inadequate as a mirroring of 
the interaction between the naturalist and frontier ways of 
life. The ten men whose lives have been sketched at length 
are but a handful compared with the scores of workers, some 
of humble and slender gifts, others of outstanding ability and 
accomplishments, who during the frontier period contributed 
,to our cultural and scientific advance. 

But whether mediocre or brilliant, famous or obscure, they 
came and worked, and passed, these Naturalists of the Fron- 
tier, across the stage of history — some of them men of brain 
and heart and honor, others men of whom we cannot speak 
with admiration. They are not all to be gauged by the same 
standards : their environments, diverse and not always favor- 
able, helped to make them all. But they were one in their 
devotion to the advancement of our common knowledge. 
Their love for nature carried them through the difficulties and 
hardships of the frontier days; and much can be forgiven 
them, for they have loved much. 

») >» »> )» ■»> )» )» ») )XC <CC KC gee K< «fr <«■ <X t&r 



Acknowledgments: In the course of researches extending over ten 
years, I have incurred on every hand obligations so numerous as to 
make a detailed and specific acknowledgment out of the question. I 
desire here, however, to make record of my special obligation to the 
following persons for the loan of books and manuscript material, or 
for suggestions, information, and criticism : Miss Stella Drumm, Libra- 
rian of the Missouri Historical Society ; Miss Nell C. Horner, Librarian 
of the Missouri Botanical Garden ; Miss Ruth D. Sanderson, Librarian 
of the Gray Herbarium at Cambridge ; Dr. John Hendley Barnhart, 
Bibliographer of the New York Botanical Garden ; Dr. E. W. Gudger, 
Associate Curator, Department of Ichthyology, the American Museum 
of Natural History; Professor Jesse M. Greenman, Curator of the 
Herbarium of the Missouri Botanical Garden; Professor B. L. Robin- 
son, late Curator of the Gray Herbarium; Professor L. L. Woodruff, 
of Yale University, and Mr. Andrew Keogh, Librarian of the Univer- 
sity; and Mr. Alfred C. Potter, Librarian of Harvard University. 
Mrs. Austin H. Clark, Acting Librarian of the United States National 
Museum, has also helped me generously during my visits to the library 
under her charge. I am also under deep obligation to Professor James 
Franklin Jameson, head of the Division of Manuscripts of the Library 
of Congress. Mrs. Mattie Austin Hatcher and Miss Winnie Allen, 
Archivists of the University of Texas library, and Mr. E. W. Winkler, 
Bibliographer of the library, have given me unstinted aid, and I am 
under a very great obligation to them. This book first came into the 
mind of Professor John H. McGinnis of Southern Methodist Univer- 
sity; and he has shown the greatest solicitude for my researches, and 
has given constant encouragement. My wife, Mrs. Bessie Teeple 
Geiser, has given unfailing help and most valuable criticism ; and I have 
been glad to avail myself of her excellent knowledge of American his- 
tory, and training in methods of historical research. Finally, I owe to 
Professor Henry Nash Smith of Southern Methodist University a debt 



of thanks that can be known in its full extent only by writers who have 
worked with an editor of wide and deep scholarship, and critical ability 
of a high order. 

My colleague, Professor Edwin J. Foscue, has generously helped by 
the preparation of the maps that accompany the text ; and Mr. George 
Bond has helped greatly in critical reading of the manuscript and the 

Chapter I. The Naturalist on the Frontier 

No student attempting to comprehend phenomena of the Frontier 
can avoid making serious study of the two classics in this field, Frederick 
J. Turner's The Frontier in American History, 1920, and Frederick L. 
Paxson's History of the American Frontier, 1763-1893, 1924. I have 
also, in the course of this chapter, derived much help from an acute and 
penetrating essay by Professor Henry Nash Smith, entitled, "What Is 
the Frontier?" printed in the Southwest Review, xxi, 97-103, 1935. 

Chapter II. Jacob Boll 

Obituary Notices: Galveston Daily News, Oct. 10, 21, 1880; Dallas 
Daily Herald, Oct. 1, 19, 1880 ; American Naturalist, xiv, 609-10, 1880. 

Biography, critical estimates, documented : S. W. Geiser, (a) South- 
west Review, xiv, 184-98, 1929; (b) Dallas Morning News, Oct. 2i. 
1928, portrait and facsimiles; (c) Dallas Morning News, Sept. 30, 1930; 
(d) American Midland Naturalist, xi, 435-52, portrait, 1929; (e) 
Dictionary of American Biography; (f ) Der Schweizer, Nov. 30, 1929. 
Heinrich Frey, Mittheilungen der schweizerischen entomologischen 
Gesellschaft, vi, 47-51, 1880; August Siemering, Der Deutsche Pionier, 
xii, 399-400, 1880; Appletons Cyclopedia of American Biography. 

Descriptions and critical estimates of the work of Bolt: R. T. Hill, 
Bulletin 45 of the U. S. Geological Survey, 1887; E. D. Cope, Bulletin 
17 of the U. S. National Museum; S. W. Geiser, Dallas Morning News, 
July 25, 1929, Sept. 30, 1930; Heinrich Frey, loc. cit. 

Other sources: Jacob Boll's Field Notes in Cope Collection, library 
of the American Museum of Natural History ; letters from Jacob Boll 
in the library of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge; 
letters to Boll, in possession of Miss Edith Beilharz and Mrs. Morgan 
M. Mayfield, Dallas; Manuscript Proceedings of the Boston Society of 
Natural History, March 23, Oct. 26, 1870; Apr. 21, Oct. 25, and Nov. 
22, 1871; Jan. 3 and Feb. 28, 1872; Manuscript Proceedings of the 


Cambridge Entomological Society, Nov. 10, 1876 and Nov. 12, 1880; 
Annual Reports of the Trustees of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 
1870, 1871, 1872, and 1874. 

Publications of Jacob Boll: Verzeichniss der Phanerogamen- und 
Kryptogamen-Flora von Bremgarten, dem untern Freiamt, Hallwilersee, 
Limmathal, und den angrenzenden Theilen des Kantons Zurich. Aarau, 
Druck und Verlag von J. J. Christen, viii + 127 pp., 1869; (with H. 
Frey) "Nordamerikanische Tineen," Stettiner entomologischer Zeitung, 
xxxiv, 201-24, 1873; (with H. Frey) "Einige Tineen aus Texas," ibid., 
xxxvn, 209-28, 1876 ; "Ueber die Bef ruchtung der nordamerikanischen 
Yucca-Arten," ibid., xxxvn, 401-04, 1876; (with H. Frey) "Tineen 
aus Texas," ibid., xxxix, 249-79, 1878; "Texas in its geognostic and 
agricultural Aspect," American Naturalist, xm, 375-84, 1879 ; "Geolog- 
ical Examinations in Texas," ibid., xiv, 684-86, 1880. 

Chapter III. Jean Louis Berlandier 

Biography, critical, documented: S. W. Geiser, Southwest Review, 
xvih, 431-49, 1933. 

Other materials: Berlandier & Chovell, Diario de Viage de la Comi- 
sion de Li mites . . . , 1850; Sanchez, Southwestern Historical Quar- 
terly, xxix, 249-88, 1926; Berlandier, Chovell, and Teran Manuscripts 
in the Berlandier Collections of the Library of Congress, the library of 
the U. S. National Museum, the Yale University library, the library 
of the Gray Herbarium of Harvard University, and the library of the 
University of Texas; Baird-Couch letters in the library of the Smith- 
sonian Institution; and a transcript of a Couch-Baird letter in the 
library of the Gray Herbarium. Materials descriptive of the political 
situation in Texas at the time of the expedition, and of the weather 
conditions encountered, are to be found in "J. C. Copper's Journal" 
(Quarterly of the Texas Historical Association, xm, 44-80, 1909), in 
some letters in the Bexar Archives of the time (especially that of Tomas 
M. Duke to Ramon Musquiz, June 27, 1828), and a number of letters 
of S. F. Austin, Ramon Musquiz, and Teran, printed in the Austin 
Papers, the letters dating from January to September, 1828. Censure 
of Berlandier is to be found in Memoires et Souvenirs de Auguste- 
Pyrame DeCandolle, 1862, pp. 336-38. 

Chapter IV. Thomas Drummond 
Biography, critical, documented: S. W. Geiser, Southwest Review, 


xv, 478-512, portrait, 1930; Perley Spaulding, Popular Science Monthly, 
lxxiv, 48-50, portrait, 1909; Dictionary of National Biography. 

Other materials: W. J. Hooker, Companion to the Botanical Maga- 
zine, i, 39-46, 1835 (original letters of Drummond to Hooker are pre- 
served in the library of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew) ; Thomas 
Drummond, Botanical Miscellany, I, 178-219, 1830; John Franklin, 
Narrative of a Second Expedition to the Shores of the Polar Sea . . . , 
1828, preface, also pp. 308-13; John Richardson, Fauna Boreali Ameri- 
cana, 1829-36, containing valuable notes on Drummond at the following 
places : i, xiv, xvi-xviii, 27-28 ; n, xv ; in, xiv-xv ; Edward R. Preble, 
North American Fauna, No. 27, pp. 58-61, 1908; Britten & Boulger, 
Biographical Index of British and Irish Botanists, 1893. 

Chapter V. Louis Cachand Ervendberg 

Biography: S. W. Geiser, Southwest Review, xxii, 241-84, 1937; 
H. Seele, Neu-Braunfelser Zeitung, Jan. 12, 1888 (obituary of Mrs. 
Ervendberg) . 

Other materials: Church Books of the First Protestant Church of 
New Braunfels ; Viktor Bracht, Texas im Jahre 1848, 1849 ; F. Roemer, 
Texas . . . , 1849, p. 120; Comite-Bericht des Vereins zum Schutze 
deutscher Auszvanderer in Texas, 1850; Sarah S. McKellar, San 
Antonio Express, Sept. 8, 1935 (Sect. D, pp. 1, 3) ; R. L. Biesele, The 
History of the German Settlements in Texas, 1831-1861, 1930, pp. 126, 
217-18; Johannes Mgebroff, Geschichte der Ersten Deutschen Evan- 
gelisch-lutherischen Synode in Texas, 1902, pp. 8, 122-23 ; G. G. Ben- 
jamin, German American Annals, vn, 49-51, 1909; M. Tiling, History 
of the German Element in Texas from 1820-1850, 1913, pp. 56-57; 
Friedrich Wilhelm von Wrede, Lebensbilder . . . , 1844, pp. 183-84, 
253-54; Adams, British Diplomatic Correspondence concerning the 
Republic of Texas, 1918, p. 356; Ludolph F. Lafrentz, Jahrbuch der 
Neu-Braunfelser Zeitung, 1926, pp. 23-24; Gammel's Laws of Texas, 
ii (pp. 948-50 for charter of the Hermann's University; p. 1384, for 
Act amending the Charter) ; Prince Carl von Solms, Berichtc to the 
management of the Adelsverein, reprinted in Jahrbuch der Neu- 
Braunfelser Zeitung, 1916, passim (especially the Sixth and Tenth 
reports). The narrative of Bernhard Monken (1902), reprinted in the 
Jahrbuch ... for 1924, pp. 23ff; A. H. Sorgel, Neueste Nachrichten 
aus Texas, reprinted in A. B. Faust, The German Element in the 
United States, 1909, i, 497-8; H. Seele, Die Cypresse . . . , 1936, pp. 


55, 59, 103-4, 120-21, 137 (for materials on the summer of 1846 at New 
Braunfels, and the conditions at the Waisenfarm) ; F. L. Olmsted, A 
Journey Through Texas, 1857, (pp. 143-46 for a sympathetic account 
of social conditions in New Braunfels in 1854 — the account of Ervend- 
berg is found at pages 169-72) ; Neu-Braunfelser Zeitung, Oct. 5, 1855 
(for date of Ervendberg's departure from New Braunfels). Asa Gray, 
in Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, v, 174-90, 
1862, gives an account of Ervendberg's plant collections at Wartenberg. 

Manuscript materials: Besides Church Records, and extensive German 
and Mexican correspondence, the following should be mentioned; Er- 
vendberg-Gray correspondence in the Gray Herbarium ; letters of Gustav 
W. Eisenlohr to Jacob Friedrich Eisenlohr, in possession of Eduard G. 
Eisenlohr of Dallas : records in office of Clerk of Courts of Colorado 
County, Texas, for real-estate holdings of Ervendberg at Blumenthal; 
records of Clerk of the District Court of Comal County, Texas, regard- 
ing the Waisenfarm and other matters related to Ervendberg's departure 
from Texas. 

Chapter VI. Ferdinand Jakob Lindheimer 

Biography: S. W. Geiser, Southzvest Review, xv, 245-66, portrait, 
documented, 1930; Dictionary of American Biography; J. W. Blanken- 
ship, Eighteenth Annual Report of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 1907, 
pp. 127-41, portrait; Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, xvin, 697-98, 
1883. Other sources of a biographical character are F. J. Lindheimer's 
Aufs'dtze und Abhandlungen, 1879; F. Roemer, Texas . . . , 1849, pp. 
143 ff. ; George Engelmann and Asa Gray, Proceedings of the Boston 
Society of Natural History, v, 210-64, 1845. See also Rosa Kleberg in 
Quarterly of the Texas Historical Association, n, 170-73, 1898. August 
Siemering has a brief biography of Lindheimer in Der Deutsche Pionier 
xi, 380-82, 1880, with a number of factual errors. 

Manuscript materials: Lindheimer-Engelmann letters in the library of 
the Missouri Botanical Garden ; Engelmann-Gray letters and two Lind- 
heimer-Gray letters in the library of the Gray Herbarium. There are 
also some letters to J. W. Blankenship from M. E. Lindheimer and other 
Lindheimer descendants in the library of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 

Chapter VII. Ferdinand von Roemer 

Biography, critical, documented: S. W. Geiser, Southwest Review, 
xvn, 421-60, portrait, 1932; F. W. Simonds, American Geologist, xxix, 


131-40, portrait, 1902; Wilhelm Dames, Neues Jahrbuch fur Miner- 
alogie Geologie und Palaeontologie, Jahrgang 1892, I, 1-32, Anhang ; 
Roemer, Texas . . . , 1849, passim. 

Other materials: John K. Strecker, Baylor Bulletin, xxxi, No. 3, 
passim, and Dr. John W. Lockhart, in the Galveston Daily News, April 
30, 1893, have excellent accounts of the Tehuacana Trading House of 
Torrey & Barnard at the time of Roemer's visit ; Mrs. M. H. Houstoun, 
Texas and the Gulf of Mexico, or Yachting in the New World, 1844; 
Hesperos, or Travels in the West, 1850, n, 114-29; F. Roemer, Die 
Kreidebildungen von Texas, und ihre organischen Einschliisse, 1852. 

Chapter VIII. Charles Wright 

Biography, critical, documented: S. W. Geiser, Southwest Review, xv, 
343-78, 1930; Field & Laboratory, iv, 41-48, 1935 ; Dictionary of Amer- 
ican Biography ; Thomas Thatcher, Biographical and Historical Record 
of the Class of 1835 in Yale College . . . , 1881, pp. 174-80; Asa Gray in 
American Journal of Science, Third Series, xxxi, 12-17, 1886; E. O. 
Wooton, Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, xxxm, 561-66, 1906; 
Yale Obituary Record, 1880-90; John R. Bartlett, Personal Narrative 
of Explorations and Incidents . . . , ii, 548-9, 1854; Senate Executive 
Document No. 64, 31st Congress, 1st Session, pp. 40-54, 1850. 

Manuscript materials: documents in the Alumni Office of Yale Uni- 
versity; the Gray-Wright and Wright-Gray correspondence in the 
library of the Gray Herbarium ; Wright-Engelmann correspondence in 
the library of the Missouri Botanical Garden. In the archives of the 
General Land Office of Texas are four letters written (1841) when 
Wright was County Surveyor of (old) Menard County (the letters are 
Nos. 1590, 1630, 1654, 1672). 

Chapter IX. Gideon Lincecum 

Biography: S. W. Geiser, Southwest Review, xv, 93-111, portrait, doc- 
umented, 1929; "Autobiography" of Gideon Lincecum, in Publications 
of the Mississippi Historical Society, viii, 443-519, 1904; obituary in 
Dallas Daily Herald, Dec. 12, 1874; Dictionary of American Biography. 

Manuscript materials: Journals, letters, and other materials in the 
archives of the University of Texas library; letters from Lincecum in 
the library of the Smithsonian Institution. 

Publications of Gideon Lincecum: (with Elias Durand) Proceedings 
of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, xiii, 98 ff . ; Jour- 


nal of the Linnaean Society of London (Zoology), vi, 29-31, 1862; 
Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, xvm, 
323-31, 1866; three papers in Vol. i of the American Naturalist (pp. 
137 ff., 409 ff., 203 fL), 1867; Practical Entomologist, i, 110, 1866; 
Texas Almanac, 1867, p. 195 ; Proceedings of the Academy of Natural 
Sciences of Philadelphia, xix, 24, 1867 ; American Naturalist, vn, 483-4, 
1873; four papers in Vol. viii of the same journal, at pages 513, 564, 
and 593, 1874 ; "Autobiography," as above ; "Choctaw Traditions about 
their Settlement in Mississippi, and the Origin of their Mounds," Pub- 
lications of the Mississippi Historical Society, vm, 521-42, 1904; "Life 
of Apushimataha," ibid., ix, 415-85, 1906. Lincecum also published a 
number of short papers in various issues of the Texas Almanac, 1857-74, 
as well as newspaper articles, usually signed, "Gid." 

Chapter X. Julien Reverchon 

Biography: S. W. Geiser, Southwest Review, xiv, 331-42, 1929; Dal- 
las Morning News, Dec. 31, 1905 ; Nov. 23, 1919 ; March 26, 1922 ; June 
15, 1924; May 8, 1927; March 19, 1933; C. S. Sargent, Silva of North 
America, xui, 175-6, 1902. 

Manuscript materials: Letters of Reverchon to Asa Gray, Thomas 
Morong, Sereno Watson, C. S. Sargent, and Lester F. Ward in the Gray 
Herbarium library ; Reverchon-Engelmann correspondence in the library 
of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 

Publications of Julien Reverchon: Botanical Gazette, xi, 56-59, 211-16, 
1886; Garden & Forest, v, 615, 1892; ibid., vi, 503, 524, 1893. 

The genus Reverchonia is described by Asa Gray in Proceedings of 
the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, New Series, viii, 107, 1881. 

Chapter XL Gustaf Wilhelm Belfrage 

Biography: S. W. Geiser, (a) Southwest Review, xiv, 381-98, 1929; 
(b) Dallas Morning News, Feb. 23, 1930, photographs; (c) Entomo- 
logical News, xliv, 127-32, 1933; (d) Field & Laboratory, i, 47-50, 

Other materials: Jenny Belfrage, Bidrag till Slakten Belfrages His- 
toria, 1916; Cresson, "Hymenoptera Texana," Transactions of the 
American Entomological Society, iv, 153 ff., 1872 ; American Naturalist, 
xvn, 424, 1883. Advertisements inserted by Belfrage occur in volumes 
of Entomologische Nachrichten, Bulletin of the American Entomolog- 
ical Society, North American Entomologist, Canadian Entomologist. 


Manuscript materials: Belfrage-Boheman letters (forty in number), 
and Belfrage-Stal letters in the archives of the Swedish Academy of 
Sciences, Stockholm (these were transcribed under supervision of 
Professor Dr. Yngve Sjostedt, to whom I am under greatest obliga- 
tions) ; letters by Belfrage to Baron von Osten Sacken, Philip R. Uhler, 
the Boston Society of Natural History, Samuel Henshaw, Alpheus 
Hyatt, Dr. H. Hagen, and Rowland Hay ward, in the libraries of the 
Boston Society of Natural History and the Museum of Comparative 
Zoology at Cambridge ; personal letters from Docent Dr. Sixten Bel- 
frage, University of Lund, Sweden, and Captain Lennart Belfrage, 
caput families of the Belfrage clan in Sweden; personal letters from 
numerous old friends and acquaintances of Belfrage in Bosque County, 
Texas ; probate records of Bosque County, Texas ; letters of E. T. 
Cresson to Belfrage, published in Calvert's life of Cresson {Transac- 
tions of the American Entomological Society, lii, Supplement, xix-xxiii, 

A great number of species of arthropods were named in honor of 
Belfrage, by Cresson (eleven in the "Hymenoptera Texana" alone), 
Zeller, Chambers, Fish, Grote, Morrison, Scudder, Stretch, J. B. Smith, 
Harvey, and Packard. 

$&&^&^>^^>^ ■>» >xo « <■ «fr «<« <■«<-«««« < - 


IN TEXAS, 1820-1880 

Note. — The following list includes naturalists and collectors known 
to have worked in Texas in the period indicated. It is, of course, not 
complete. Dates of birth and death are given where this information 
is available; the omission of dates indicates a lack of definite informa- 
tion. Bibliographical references are included within parentheses. 
Where no reference is given, the reader is to understand that the facts 
presented are derived from miscellaneous sources — unpublished letters, 
manuscripts, etc. — which the author has consulted, but which are not 
readily accessible. The Dictionary of American Biography is referred 
to as DAB ; Apple ton's Cyclopedia of American Biography is referred 
to as ACAB. 

ABERT, Lieutenant James William (1820-97).— This earnest student 
of ornithology, a member of the corps of Topographic Engineers, 
United States Army, traversed Panhandle Texas in 1846, and pub- 
lished his results in Senate Executive Documents, Vol. iv, No. 23, 
30th Congress, 1st Session, 1848. {ACAB) 

ADAMS, W. H. — Geologist and engineer; investigated deposits of coal 
in Mexico and Texas in the Eagle Pass region, and published his 
results in Transactions of the American Institute of Mining Engi- 
neers, x, 270-73, 1882. 

ASHBURNER, Charles Albert (1854-89).— In the spring of 1879, 
Ashburner, then a member of the state Geological Survey of Pennsyl- 
vania, made an investigation of the "Brazos Coal Field'' along the 
Clear Fork of the Brazos, in the northern part of Stephens County 
and the southern part of Young County. {Transactions of the Ameri- 
can Institute of Mining Engineers, ix, 495-506, 1880; ACAB, DAB) 

AUDUBON, John James (1780-1851).— The great ornithologist came 
to Texas in the spring of 1837, exploring Galveston Bay and Buffalo 
Bayou as far as Houston. He was accompanied by his son and 
Edward Harris. {Southwest Review, xvi, 108-35, 1930) 



AUDUBON, John Woodhouse (1812-62).— Besides making the trip 
to Texas in 1837 with his father, J. W. Audubon collected mammals, 
etc., extensively in Texas during several months of 1845-46, and 
returned to Texas in March of 1849 for a brief trip through the 
Rio Grande valley at Brownsville en route to California. 

BARTLETT, John Russell (1805-86). — This famous antiquarian and 
bibliographer, then much interested in ethnology, was in 1850 ap- 
pointed Commissioner for the United States to run the boundary line 
between the United States and Mexico. He continued in this position 
until February, 1853. (ACAB, DAB) 

BEHR, Ottomar von (1810-56). — A member of a noble family of 
lower Saxony dating from the twelfth century, von Behr came to 
Texas about 1846, later settling at Sisterdale. He was a kinsman of 
the distinguished California entomologist and physician, Dr. Hans 
Hermann Behr (1818-1904), and worked in meteorology and natural 
history. (Bias, v, 148-50, 1934) 

BELFRAGE, Gustaf Wilhelm (1834-82).— The Swedish entomologist 
came to Texas in 1867 and worked chiefly in McLennan, Bosque, and 
(perhaps) Williamson counties. E. T. Cresson's Hymenoptera T ex- 
ana (1872) was based largely on his collections of Hymenoptera. 
(Chapter xi of the present work; Southwest Review, xiv, 381-98, 
1929; Entomological News, xliv, 127-32, 1933; Field & Laboratory, 
i, 47-50, 1933) 

BENTON, Lieutenant James Gilchrist (1820-81).— Benton was an 
ordnance expert with the United States Army stationed at San 
Antonio, 1849-52. In 1854 he sent collections of fossils to the 
Smithsonian Institution. (ACAB) 

BERLANDIER, Jean Louis (1805-51).— The Swiss naturalist came 
to Mexico in 1826 and explored for plants and animals in Texas, 
1828-34. (Chapter in of the present work; Southwest Review, xvm, 
431-59, 1933) 

BIGELOW, Artemas (1818-1901).— Collected plants in Texas during 
the summer of 1839. (Alumni Record of Wesleyan University, 
Connecticut, 1883, p. 19) 

BIGELOW, Dr. John Milton (1804-78).— In 1850-53 Bigelow was 
Botanist of the U. S. and Mexican Boundary Survey under Bartlett; 
in the autumn of 1853 he accompanied Captain Whipple on the Pacific 
Railroad Survey along the Thirty-fifth Parallel, thus collecting along 


the Canadian River in Northwest Texas. His valuable papers ap- 
peared in the fourth volume of the Pacific Railroad Reports. 

BLAKE, William Phipps (1828-1910).— Geologist on one of the Pacific 
Railroad Surveys (Williamson's). He was charged with preparing 
for publication Marcou's specimens and notes on the geology of the 
Whipple Survey. Later he made studies of the Big Wichita and 
Brazos rivers, and subsequently became professor of geology in the 
University of California. (DAB; Who's Who in America; American 
Men of Science) 

BOLL, Jacob (1828-80). — Swiss naturalist and entomologist, whose 
collections in all fields of natural history in Texas are of the greatest 
importance. He came to Texas in 1869. (Chapter n of the present 
work; Southwest Review, xiv, 184-98, 1929; American Midland 
Naturalist, vm, 435-52, 1929) 

BOLLAERT, William. — This accomplished British antiquarian, eth- 
nologist, and geographer (a Fellow of the Royal Geographical So- 
ciety) resided and traveled in Texas from 1840-44. His journals, 
notes, personal narrative of residence and travel in Texas ( 1274 MS. 
pages), together with thirty-eight sketches, are in the Ayer Collection 
of the Newberry Library, Chicago. 

BRACHT, Viktor. — After coming to Texas in the German immigration 
of 1844-47, Bracht was very observant of the fauna and flora of 
Texas, and in his book, Texas im Jahre 1848, 1849, gives an inde- 
pendent account of the natural history of the region. 

BUCKLEY, Samuel Botsford (1809-83).— Buckley came to Texas in 
1859. He was twice State Geologist of Texas, and also published on 
the botany of Texas and on North American ants. His work was 
uneven in quality, and frequently was of little value. (Southwest 
Review, xvi, 133-4, 1930) 

BUNSEN, Dr. Gustav (? 1805 -36). —Gustav Bunsen, brother of the 
well known German-American educator, Georg Bunsen, came to 
Texas in 1836 from Belleville, and was killed (with most of Grant's 
men) on the Agua Dulce, about 26 miles west of San Patricio, March 
2, 1836. He was well trained in the sciences. 

BURLESON, Richard Byrd (1822-79).— Burleson came to Texas in 
1855 ; he was Professor of Natural Sciences at Baylor University, 
1857-61, and at Waco University, 1861-79. He had studied science 
with Gerard Troost at the University of Nashville. In 1874 he joined 


Buckley's second Texas Geological Survey, and contributed to 
Buckley's Report of 1876. 

BUTCHER, H. B.— Collected birds in the vicinity of Laredo, 1866-67; 
sent collections of birds to the Smithsonian Institution (1866, 1867) ; 
published a paper on the birds of Laredo in the Proceedings of the 
Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, xx, 148-50, 1868. 

CARTER, B. F. — Collected mollusca casually in Texas and sent some 
specimens to the Smithsonian Institution (1859). 

CLARK, John Henry (b. 1830?). — Naturalist, surveyor; a native of 
Anne Arundel County, Maryland, and a former student of Spencer 
F. Baird at Dickinson College. Clark served as Zoologist and Assist- 
ant Computer under Colonel J. D. Graham with the U. S. and 
Mexican Boundary Survey, 1850-55 ; during a part of this period 
Charles Wright was Botanist with the expedition. With Arthur 
Schott, Clark made very fine zoological collections ; those of the 
vertebrates contained perhaps a hundred new species. (Dall, Spencer 
Fullerton Baird, 1915, passim; Bulletin 194, U. S. Geological Survey, 
1902, pp. 14 ff.) 

CHURCHILL, General Sylvester (1783-1862).— Father-in-law of 
Spencer F. Baird. He accompanied General John Ellis Wool to 
Mexico via the "Wool Road" ; in October, 1846, he collected fishes 
for Baird at the crossing of the Rio Grande. 

CONSTANT, Louis. — A Berliner who collected protista in Texas for 
Professor Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg. About 1844-46, he was 
successively at Cat Spring, Austin County, and at Indianola ; and he 
lived in Austin county as late as 1861. (Monatsberichte der Konig- 
lichen Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin, 1849, p. 

COUCH, Lieutenant Darius Nash (1822-97).— In 1853-54, Couch made 
an expedition into northern Mexico and southern Texas ; he brought 
back to the Smithsonian Institution the fine Berlandier collections and 
manuscripts; subsequently he was for a time on duty at the Smith- 
sonian Institution. (ACAB; DAB; Dall, Spencer Fullerton Baird, 
1915, passim) 

CRAWFORD, Dr. Samuel Wylie (1829-92).— An army surgeon at- 
tached for a time to Fort Clark (present Brackettville). He sent to 
the Smithsonian Institution (1853-57), for use in the Pacific Rail- 
road Reports, large collections of vertebrates from the vicinity of 
Fort Clark and Las Moras Springs. He lived in Texas from 1851-60. 


CRESSON, Ezra Townsend (1838-1926).— During the year 1859, 
this entomologist, later to attain eminence in his field, lived at New 
Braunfels, Comal County, and made collections of insects and other 
natural-history objects. (Transactions of the American Entomolog- 
ical Society, lii, ix [supplement], 1928.) 

DEAN, G. W— In 1853 Dean collected, at Galveston, reptiles for the 
Smithsonian Institution. 

DIFFENDERFER, Dr. W. L.— As surgeon and naturalist with Cap- 
tain Pope's Expedition (1854) DifTenderfer collected plants, birds, 
and small mammals. Torrey and Gray published on his plant collec- 
tions in Volume n of the Pacific Railroad Reports. 

DOUGLAS, David (1798-1834).— Audubon and Bachman (in Quad- 
rupeds . . . , I, 290, 1856) suggest, mistakenly, that Douglas col- 
lected for Professor William J. Hooker. Drummond was the first 
collector sent by Hooker to Texas. 

DRESSER, H. E.— Dresser collected birds in Texas about 1865 and 
in Ibis (1865, pp. 312-30, 466-95; and 1866, pp. 23-46) published an 
extended paper on the birds of southern Texas. 

DRUMMOND, Thomas ( ?1 790-1 83 5). —The Scottish botanical col- 
lector did distinguished botanical and zoological collecting in Texas in 
1833-34, chiefly in the old Austin Colony and on Galveston Island. 
(Chapter iv of the present work; Popular Science Monthly, lxxiv, 
48-9, 1909; Southwest Review, xv, 478-512, 1930) 

DURHAM, George T. — Durham, who at that time was a resident of 
Austin, published valuable articles on "Game in Texas" in the Texas 
Almanac for 1868 and 1869. 

EMORY, William Hemsley (1811-87).— After the Mexican War, 
Emory was assigned to duty as Chief Astronomer for running the 
boundary between California and Mexico (1851); in 1854 he was 
appointed Commissioner and Astronomer for running the boundary 
under the Gadsden Treaty. He collected mammals along the Rio 
Grande for the Smithsonian Institution (1853). 

ERNST, Friedrich (d. 1858).— Ernst came to Texas in 1831 and 
founded Industry, Austin County. A former head-gardener of the 
Grand-Duke of Oldenburg, he was the first able botanist and horti- 
culturist in the colony of Texas. (Bios, v, 142, 1934) 

ERVENDBERG, Louis Cachand (1809-63).— From 1849 to 1855, 
Ervendberg was actively interested in scientific, experimental agri- 
culture at "New Wied," near New Braunfels, Comal County. He 


collected plants for Asa Gray at New Braunfels, and (after 1855) 
near Tantoyuca, Vera Cruz, Mexico. (Bios, v, 144, 1934; Chapter 
v of the present work) 

FALCONER, Thomas (1805-82).— Falconer was a member of the 
Santa Fe Expedition of 1841-42, and published an account of the ex- 
pedition in London in 1844. He had good scientific training, was of 
some note as a traveler, and in 1844 published a second book, on the 
discovery of the Mississippi River, and the boundaries — western, 
northwestern, and southwestern — of the United States. 

FEATHERSTONHAUGH, George W. (1780-1866).— A brilliant 
British geologist (F.R.S., F.G.S.), Featherstonhaugh made a brief 
stop on Texan soil near Texarkana, in December, 1834. (Merrill, 
The First Hundred Years of American Geology, 1924, 136-38; 
Featherstonhaugh, Excursion through the Slave States, 1844, n, 

FENDLER, Augustus (1813-83).— Fendler came to Houston in 1839, 
and lived there in obscurity for a year. Later he became a most 
distinguished botanical collector for Asa Gray. (Popular Science 
Monthly lxxiii, 240-43, 1908) 

FLEWELLING, R. TV— In the Texas Almanac for 1870, 99-103, is a 
paper by this student on the Cotton Caterpillar. 

FOARD, Dr. Andrew Jackson (d. 1867). — As army surgeon at Fort 
Davis, Foard sent mammals from that locality to the Smithsonian 
Institution (1858). He also sent large collections of Texas verte- 
brates for Volume ix of the Pacific Railroad Reports. 

FORCKE, August (1814-189— ).— Forcke, who had had German 
university training in the sciences, came to Texas in 1846 with Prince 
Solms's colony, as official apothecary at New Braunfels. (Bios, v, 
145, 1934; Brown, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas, 189 — , pp. 

FORSHEY, Caleb Goldsmith (1812-81).— Engineer, naturalist. He 
collected mollusks, etc., for naturalists in Philadelphia and for the 
Smithsonian Institution, and published (1853-79) a series of papers, 
chiefly on the geology and hydrography of Louisiana, on the physics 
of the Mississippi River, and on the geology of the Mississippi Delta. 
He came to Texas about 1855 as engineer. Later he became Super- 
intendent of the Texas Military Institute (Galveston and Rutersville). 


A valuable paper on phenology in Fayette County for 1858-60 was 
published in the Texas Almanac for 1861. (ACAB) 

FRIEDRICH, Otto (1800-80).— Lepidopterist and naturalist, living in 
the hills close to present Gruene, near New Braunfels. He came to 
Texas for the second time in 1850. (Southwest Review, xvn, 444- 
45, 1932) 

FROEBEL, Dr. Julius (1805-93).— A noted German revolutionary, 
mineralogist, physiographer, and economist, nephew of the famous 
Professor Froebel. He came to Texas about 1853 and collected 
materials in Texas for the Smithsonian Institution. (See his Aus 
Amerika: Erfahrungen, Reisen, und Studien, 2 vols., 1857-58.) 

FURMAN, John H. — Furman published a paper, "The Geology of 
the Copper Region of Northern Texas and the Indian Territory," in 
the Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences, I, 15-20, 

Gx\NTT, Dr. W. H. — Sent samples of infusorial earth, and birds' eggs 
and nests, from Union Hill, Washington County (three miles north 
of present Burton), to the Smithsonian Institution (1857-59). 

GIRAUD, Jacob Post (1811-70).— Giraud published in 1841 a folio 
paper of 16 leaves (8 plates) entitled, "A Description of Sixteen 
New Species of North American Birds . . . collected in Texas in 
1838." I have not seen this, but from the fact that but three of 
Giraud's "species" have subsequently been collected in Texan terri- 
tory, I surmise that Giraud himself did not collect them. The types 
of these "species" were presented to the Smithsonian Institution in 

GLENN, John W.— State Geologist of Texas (1873-74); made no 
scientific publications. (Hill, Bulletin 45, U. S. Geological Survey, 

GRAHAM, Colonel James Duncan (1799-1865).— Topographical en- 
gineer, naturalist. He came into Panhandle Texas in 1820 with Major 
Stephen H. Long's Expedition; he was Principal Astronomer and 
Head of the Scientific Corps of the U. S. and Mexican Boundary 
Survey, 1850-54. (ACAB, DAB) 

HALDEMAN, Lieutenant Horace (d. 1883). — While in service at 
Fort Martin Scott (Fredericksburg) and Fort Gates (present Gates- 
ville) in the late 'forties and early 'fifties, Haldeman sent numerous 
insects and other natural-history objects to S. S. Haldeman (see 
below). Three new species of Hymenoptera, one new species of 


Hemiptera, and two new species of Coleoptera, all collected at Fort 
Gates, were described by S. S. Haldeman in Stanbury's report on 
the Great Salt Lake Region (1853). 

HALDEMAN, Samuel Stehman (1812-80).— My friend, Mr. F. F. 
Bibby, of the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, believes that 
the elder Haldeman collected insects in Liberty and Hardin counties. 
Of this I am not at present certain; but in a letter to Spencer F. 
Baird (Dec. 3, 1847), Haldeman suggests that he is contemplating 
a collecting trip to the Southwest during the summer of 1848. 

HALL, Elihu (1822-82).— One of the organizers of the Illinois Natu- 
ral History Society at Bloomington (1858), and in 1862 plant col- 
lector in the mountains of Colorado with Dr. C. C. Parry and J. P. 
Harbour. In 1872 Hall collected 861 species of plants in East Texas, 
which Asa Gray distributed to subscribers. (Botanical Gazette, ix, 
59-62, 1884) 

HANCOCK, John (1824-93).— Hancock settled in Texas in 1847, 
became Attorney-General, and later established a military telegraph 
along the frontier of Texas. He was interested in mineralogy, and 
presented to the U. S. National Museum (1880) a collection of min- 
erals from Texas and Arizona. 

HARRIS, Edward (1799-1863).— Came to Texas with the Audubons 
in 1837. He collected principally birds and birds' eggs. (Cassinia, 
vi, 1-5, 1902; Southwest Review, xvi, 108-35, 1930) 

HAYES, Dr. S. — An army surgeon ( ?). Hayes collected in the neigh- 
borhood of Fort Belknap bird-skins, mammals, and various other 
specimens for the Smithsonian Institution (1859). 

HEATON, L. D. — Collected Texas reptiles for the Smithsonian In- 
stitution (1870). 

HEERMANN, Dr. Adolphus L. (1818-65).— In 1853, Heermann col- 
lected birds in Texas as he was traversing the state to join Far- 
Western expeditions connected with the Pacific Railroad Surveys 
(Cassinia, xi, 1-6, 1907). He died in San Antonio. 

HEILIGBRODT, Ludolph (1847-1911).— While he was working as 
clerk in a store at Serbin, Texas, Heiligbrodt came across the pub- 
lished works of Hermann Burmeister. These stimulated him to col- 
lect insects; he later became (for forty years) first janitor, then 
teacher in the schools at Bastrop, Texas. Cresson's Hymenoptera 
Texana (1872) used his collections. 

HERB ST, Carl Friedrich. — Long a resident of Brenham, he became 


interested in silk-raising in the closing days of the Republic; in 1878 
he planted some thousands of Japanese and Italian mulberries to 
serve as food for silkworms. He was active in urging silkworm 
cultivation in this state. {Schutze's Jahrbuch fur Texas, 1883, 1882, 
pp. 110-11) 

HERFF, Dr. Ferdinand Ludwig Johann Arnold von (1820-1912).— He 
studied at Bonn, Berlin, and Giessen. At Berlin he sat under Johannes 
Miiller; at Giessen studied with Professor Justus von Liebig. He 
took his M.D. at Giessen (1842) and came to Texas in 1847 with the 
Darmstadter Kolonie (Bettina, near present Castell). During his 
days at Bonn, Herff had become interested in botany, and early in 
his Texas career he planned to explore botanically the Rocky Moun- 
tains and California, with Duke Paul of Wiirttemburg ; this project 
was never carried through. He practiced medicine in San Antonio, 
1849-1908, and became the most distinguished surgeon in the South- 

HIELSCHER, Theodor. — Published in Schutze's Jahrbuch fur Texas, 
1883, 1882, pp. 63-73, highly interesting observations on coal at Eagle 
Pass, and a notice of finding vertebrate fossil remains in the same 
locality. His work was done in the 'seventies. 

HUFF, William.— About 1835-45, Huff collected large numbers of 
Pleistocene mammals in the vicinity of San Felipe, Austin county. 
{Southwest Review, xvi, 132, 1930) 

ISAAC, J. C. — From Ilges' Ranch, Wyoming. He worked as fossil 
collector for Edward Drinker Cope in the Bad Lands of South Dakota 
(1876) ; in the winter and spring of 1877-8, Isaac and Jacob Boll 
collected together for Cope in the Wichita country of Northwest 
Texas. (Osborn, Cope: Master Naturalist, 1931, passim; Sternberg, 
Life of a Fossil Hunter, 1909, passim) 

JAMES, Dr. Edwin (1797-1861).— As surgeon with Long's Second 
Expedition (1820), James collected plants and fossils along the 
Canadian River in the Texas Panhandle. {Popular Science Monthly, 
lxxv, 497-8, 1908) 

JENNEY, Walter Proctor.— Worked (1874) on the geology of 
Western Texas near the Thirty-second Parallel. Between 1874 and 
1889, he published five geological papers. 

JEWETT, Colonel Ezekiel [B.?] (1791-1877).— Sent Texas reptiles 
to the Smithsonian Institution (1857). {American Naturalist, xi, 
505, 1877 ; American Journal of Science, Third Series, xiv, 80, 1877). 


KALTEYER, Friedrich (1817-84).— The elder Kalteyer studied at 
Mainz and Giessen, at the latter place with the famous chemist Justus 
von Liebig, then just beginning to turn his attention to animal and 
plant chemistry. Kalteyer came to Texas in 1846; for a time he 
practiced medicine at Boerne ; he lived at San Antonio as apothecary 
for many years. He was an intimate friend of Dr. Ferdinand HerfT. 

KALTEYER, George H. (1849-97).— In 1872, Kalteyer sent teeth of a 
Cretaceous shark, Ptychodus, from Texas to the Smithsonian Institu- 
tion ; in 1873-4 he made chemical analyses for the Texas Geological 
Survey under John W. Glenn ; in 1885, upon the incorporation of the 
Museum of Natural History at San Pedro Springs, San Antonio, he 
was elected vice-president and director. 

KELLOGG, Dr. Albert (1813-87).— Professor W. L. Jepson {DAB, 
s.v. "Albert Kellogg") states that Kellogg came to Texas with the 
elder Audubon. This would have been in 1837. My evidence, to me 
conclusive, seems to show that neither in 1837, in 1845-6, nor in 1849 
(all the possible dates) did Kellogg accompany any of the Audubons 
to Texas. The statement, based by Jepson on Edward L. Greene's 
published sketch of Kellogg, seems thus to be in error. 

KELLOGG, F. — A resident of Wheelock, Robertson County. In the 
early 'sixties Kellogg sent birds' eggs and Tertiary shells to the Smith- 
sonian Institution. 

KENNEDY, William (1799-1871).— A widely-educated, acute-minded 
Britisher, in the consular service in Texas (1839; 1841-47). His 
Texas (2 vols., with total of 984 pages, London, 1841) is a classic, 
of great scientific value. (Hill, Bulletin 45, U. S. Geological Survey, 
1887, p. 13) 

KENNERLY, Dr. Caleb Burwell Rowan ( 1830-61 ) .—From 1854 to 
1857, Kennedy collected all sorts of materials for the U. S. and 
Mexican Boundary Survey. He was a former student of Spencer F. 
Baird at Dickinson College. (Dall, Spencer Fullerton Baird, 1915, 

KERR, Washington Caruthers (1827-85).— Kerr, in later life a noted 
geologist in North Carolina, was graduated from the University of 
North Carolina in 1850, came to Texas in that year, and during 
1851-52, held a professorship in Marshall University, at Marshall. 
He left this place in 1852 for Cambridge, Massachusetts, to accept 
a position as computer in the office of the Nautical Almanac. (ACAB, 


KIMBALL, James Putnam (1836-1913) — Kimball was a prominent 
consulting geologist of New York City who published notes on the 
geology of western Texas and Chihuahua. (American Journal of 
Science, Second Series, xlviii, 378-88, 1869.) 

KING, Dr. William Shakespeare (d. 1895). — As an army surgeon in 
Texas, King sent mammals to the Smithsonian Institution (in 1859 
and earlier), and these were used in working up the reports in 
Volumes vin-x of the Pacific Railroad Reports. 

KIRBY-SMITH, Captain Edmund (1834-93).— On the Texas military 
frontier (1852-58), Kirby-Smith collected plants for the U. S. and 
Mexican Boundary Survey while in command of its military escort 

KLAPPENBACH, Georg. — A former Burgomaster of Anklam, near 
Stettin, Klappenbach lived at New Braunfels, 1846+. He was an 
amateur geologist and paleontologist, with a remarkable collection of 
fossils. (Bias,Y, 144, 1934). 

KUECHLER, J. — A scientifically-trained German of Gillespie County 
who published, about 1859, a paper on climatic fluctuations in that 
region, from 1725 to 1858. Kuchler based his conclusions on the 
characteristics shown by the growth-rings of aged post-oak trees 
which he compared. His data are reprinted in the Texas Almanac 
for 1861, 137-38. 

LANGENHEIM, Wilhelm. — An amateur geologist and collector, also 
of New Braunfels. He came to Texas in 1830 and participated in 
the Revolution. Later he went back to Germany and did not return 
to Texas until 1846. (Roemer, Texas, 1849, pp. 196 ff.) 

LEAVENWORTH, Dr. Melines Conklin (1796-1862).— Collected 
plants for a short time in East Texas in 1835. (American Journal of 
Science, Second Series, xxxv, 306, 1863) 

LECLERC, Dr. Louis Joseph Frederic (b. 1810). — A French physician 
born in Tours, a graduate of the Faculty in Paris, and later connected 
with the medical school and hospital at Tours, Leclerc first described 
the famous San Felipe deposits of Pleistocene mammals, which he 
saw in the summer of 1838. He published his "Texas et sa Revolu- 
tion" in the Revue des deux Mondes in 1840, and later in the year 
had it reprinted in book form. 

LINCECUM, Dr. Gideon (1793-1874).— A naturalist resident in Long 
Point, Washington County, 1848-74. His most noted observations 


were made on the Agricultural Ant. (Chapter ix of the present 
work; Southwest Review, xv, 93-111, 1930) 

LINDHEIMER, Ferdinand Jakob (1801-79).— Lindheimer came to 
Texas in 1836, and in 1843-52 collected plants for Asa Gray. (Chap- 
ter vi of the present work; Southwest Review, xv, 245-66, 1930) 

LONG, Major Stephen Harriman (1784-1864).— Long was leader of 
the expedition through Panhandle Texas in 1820 with which Dr. 
Edwin James was Naturalist. (DAB; National Cyclopaedia of 
American Biography, xi, 365, 1909) 

McCLELLAN, Captain George Brinton (1826-85).— Collected alco- 
holic material for Baird and Girard, while connected with Marcy's 
Exploration of the Red River (1852). (Dall, Spencer Fullerton 
Baird, 1915, pp. 282-83) 

McCOOK, Rev. Henry Christopher (1837-1911).— In 1876 McCook 
studied the Agricultural Ant near Barton's Spring, Austin ; his book 
based on this study, The Natural History of the Agricultural Ant of 
Texas, was published in 1879. 

McELDERRY, Dr. Henry (d. 1898).— Served as Surgeon in the late 
'sixties with troops on the Upper Brazos (Double Mountain Fork), 
and sent fossils to the Smithsonian Institution (1870). 

MARCOU, Jules (1824-98).— The world-famous geologist did ex- 
tremely careful work on the geology of the Whipple Survey in 
Panhandle Texas (1852-3). Through a misunderstanding with 
Jefferson Davis, then Secretary of War, he was deprived of his notes 
and specimens ; and another scientist was assigned to write his report. 
American prestige in Europe suffered seriously as a result of this 

MARCY, Captain Randolph Barnes (1812-87).— Reported briefly on 
mammals collected during his Red River exploration (1852), in the 
printed account of the expedition (1854, pp. 300-01; see also Dall, 
Spencer Fullerton Baird, 1915, p. 283). He also made an explora- 
tion (1854) of the sources of the Big Wichita and Brazos Rivers 
(report published 1856). 

MARNOCH, Gabriel William. — Came to Texas probably in the late 
'sixties, settling on Helotes Creek, northwest of San Antonio. He 
was natural-history collector for E. D. Cope (1877). (Cope, Bulle- 
tin 17, U. S. National Museum, 1880, passim; Osborn, Cope: Master 
Naturalist, 1931, pp. 235-40) 

MARSHALL, Lieutenant Louis Henry (d. 1891).— An officer of the 


Third Infantry, Marshall collected fishes, reptiles, and insects on 
Pope's Expedition through Northwest Texas (1854). (Pacific Rail- 
road Reports, Vol. n) 

MENGER, Dr. Rudolph (1851-1921).— Native of San Antonio, 
Menger studied at Leipzig (1869-1874), and took his degree of M.D. 
there. He was an indefatigable naturalist. {Schiitze's Jahrbuch fur 
Texas, 1883, 1882, pp. 83-90; Menger, Texas Nature Observations 
and Reminiscences, 1913, passim) 

MERRILL, Dr. James Cushing (1858-1902).— Merrill served for 
twenty years as surgeon at Western and Southwestern army posts ; 
he sent birds, insects, mammals, and fishes from Texas to the U. S. 
National Museum, and published "Notes on the Ornithology of 
Southern Texas" {Proceedings of the U. S. National Museum, I, 
118-73, 1878). 

MEUSEBACH, Baron Ottfried Hans von (1812-97).— Meusebach 
came to German Texas in 1845 as Commissioner-General of the 
Adelsverein colony. Excellently trained in the sciences, he actively 
explored the mineral resources of the Fisher & Miller Grant, and 
facilitated the explorations of Roemer, Lindheimer, and others. 
{Southwest Review, xv, 256, 1930; Bios, v, 144-45, 1934) 

MICHLER, Lieutenant Nathaniel (1827-81).— Michler, a topographic 
engineer of the United States Army, was well trained in the sciences 
and collected natural-history specimens on several explorations made 
in Texas for the War Department. {ACAB, DAB) 

MITCHELL, Joseph Daniel (1848-1922).— Mitchell, one of our first 
native Texan naturalists, was a gifted amateur student of Texas 
mollusks, insects, and reptiles. He served as collaborator with the 
U. S. Bureau of Entomology, and published an extended memoir on 
the snakes of Texas in an early volume of the Proceedings of the 
Texas Academy of Science. Mitchell lived at Victoria, and his 
activity commenced about 1876 or 1878. 

MOELLHAUSEN, Heinrich Balduin (1825-1905).— In 1853-54, 
Mollhausen was topographer and artist with Whipple's Survey along 
the Thirty-fifth Parallel ; the birds collected by Mollhausen and Dr. 
C. B. R. Kennerly on this survey were described by Spencer F. Baird 
in the Pacific Railroad Reports, Vols, in and iv. 

'MONTEIL, Nicolas Antoine (1771-1833)/— In Appleton's Cyclopedia 
of American Biography, 1888, iv, 365, 'Monteil' is reported as having 
worked at the Champ d'Asile in 1817. My own investigations, to- 


gether with those of Dr. John Hendley Barnhart twenty years ago, 
compel me to say that this is one of many 'scientific' hoaxes found in 
that Cyclopedia. 'Monteil' is entirely fictitious. (Field & Labora- 
tory, in, 11-12, 1934) 

MONTGOMERY, Edmund Duncan (1835-1911).— A distinguished 
British-American biologist and philosopher, who lived at Hempstead, 
Texas, 1872-1911. (Southwest Review, xvi, 200-35, 1931 ; DAB) 

MOORE, Dr. Francis M., Jr. (d. 1864). — After serving as a surgeon 
in the Texan Army in 1836, Moore became editor of the Houston 
Telegraph and Texas Register (1837-57), and in 1860 was State 
Geologist of Texas. He was author of Map and Description of Texas 
(143 pp., 18mo., Philadelphia, 1840; 2nd ed., 1844) and of newspaper 
articles on Texas natural history. 

MOORE, John W. — A native of Connecticut, Moore was alcalde of 
Harrisburg for some years preceding 1836. He was an army-con- 
tractor during the Texan War of Independence. The elder Audubon 
tells of his collecting plants for him, when Audubon came to Texas in 
1837. (R. Buchanan, Life and Adventures of Audubon the Natural- 
ist, 1864, chap, lvi; Southwest Review, xvi, 122, 1930). 

MOSS, Theodore F. — Appointed Geologist of Bartlett's Advance Party 
with the U. S. and Mexican Boundary Survey. I have been unable 
to find more information concerning Moss; Darton lists no publica- 
tions by him, and Dr. R. T. Hill does not mention him in his his- 
torical account of geological work done in Texas (1887). 

MUNSON, Thomas Volney (1843-1913).— Munson came to Denison, 
Texas, in 1876, and there did all of the horticultural investigation on 
the grape that made him famous. (DAB, s.v. "T. V. Munson") 

NEHRLING, Henry (1853-1929).— Nehrling studied the birds of 
Texas at Houston and at Fedor (Lee County), 1879-82, and pub- 
lished his observations in his Die N ordamerikanische Vogelwelt 

OLMSTED, Frederic Law (1822-1903).— Olmsted, later to become 
famous as a horticulturist and landscape architect, toured Texas on 
horseback in 1854-55, and in 1857 published his well-known A Jour- 
ney Through Texas. 

PARKER, William B. — In the autumn of 1854, Parker accompanied 
Captain Marcy through North Texas to the sources of the Big 
Wichita and the Brazos; a popular book (xii -f- 242 pp.) on his 
travels was published in Philadelphia in 1856. 


PARRY, Dr. Charles Christopher ( 1823-90) .—In 1850-53, Botanist 
and Geologist on the U. S. and Mexican Boundary Survey under 
Major W. H. Emory. {Proceedings of the Davenport Academy of 
Sciences, vi, 35-52, 1893). 

PEASE, Captain Walter B. (d. 1882).— Sent Lepidoptera from Texas 
to the Smithsonian Institution (1866). 

PITCHER, Dr. Zina (1797-1852).— Collected fossils and plants in 
Texas along the Red River, opposite Fort Towson (1833). The 
fossils were sent to Dr. S. G. Morton of Philadelphia, who described 
them in his synopsis of Cretaceous fossils of the United States (1834). 
Later Pitcher was instrumental in founding the Medical School of 
the University of Michigan. 

PLUMMER, Captain Joseph Bennett (1820-62).— Collected birds, 
reptiles, and fossils in Texas for the Smithsonian Institution (1859). 

POSELGER, Dr. Heinrich. — Possibly, though not certainly, the son 
of the celebrated mathematician of Berlin, Friedrich Theodor Poselger 
(1771-1838). In the period 1850-56, Heinrich Poselger collected 
plants for the U. S. and Mexican Boundary Survey on the lower 
Rio Grande; he also collected near Corpus Christi. He sent his 
cacti to Dr. David Dietrich, custodian of the herbarium at Jena. 
Poselger describes some varieties of cacti which Engelmann recog- 
nizes in his "Cacti of the U. S. and Mexican Boundary Survey," 1859. 

RAVENEL, Henry William (1814-87).— In 1869, Ravenel was sent 
to Texas by the United States Government to investigate a disease 
of cattle prevalent here. At this time he collected fungi extensively 
in East Texas, and M. C. Cooke, I believe, published on Ravenel's 
collections in 1878. Ravenel also collected in East Texas for the 
Smithsonian Institution mollusks and alcoholic material (1869). 

REINHARDT, Louis (1833-190— ).— As a boy of fifteen, Reinhardt 
was sent out from the Technical School at Darmstadt with the Darm- 
stadter Kolonie to botanize in Texas. {Quarterly of the Texas His- 
torical Association, m, 33-40, 1899) 

REMER, Dr. Wilhelm ( ?1802-?1860).— A member of a famous Bres- 
lau family of scientists, Remer came to Texas in the German immi- 
gration of 1845. (Bios, v, 150-51, 1934) 

REMOND, fimile (1840-1906).— A member of Victor Considerant's 
Fourieristic colony, "Reunion," near Dallas. He was a geologist, with 
particular interest in clays and cement -materials. He collected numer- 


ous Cretaceous and Pleistocene invertebrate and vertebrate fossils: 
his collection was long exhibited at the State Fair of Texas. 

REVERCHON, Julien (1837-1905).— Came to Dallas from Lyons, 
France, in 1856; also a colonist of Reunion. He explored for plants 
extensively in North and Northwest Texas, and (in the late 'seventies) 
along the old army road from Fort Belknap to Fort Inge. (Chapter 
x of the present work; Southwest Review, xiv, 331-42, 1929) 

RIDDELL, John Leonard (1807-65).— Student under Amos Eaton at 
the Rensselaer School, Troy, N. Y. ; Professor of Chemistry in the 
Medical College of Louisiana (1836-65); inventor of the binocular 
microscope. Riddell investigated the geology and botany of the 
Trinity country of Texas in April-May, 1839. {American Journal 
of Science, xxxvn, 211-17, 1839) 

RIDDELL, William Pitt (1828-72).— Brother of J. L. Riddell. In 
1858-60 he was Chemist and Assistant Geologist of the Texas Geo- 
logical Surveys under Shumard and Moore. 

ROEMER, Karl Ferdinand von (1818-91).— In 1845-47, this great 
German geologist spent eighteen months in Texas ; later he published 
two books and six papers on his findings. (Chapter vn of the present 
work; Southwest Review, xvn, 421-60, 1932) 

ROESSLER, Anton R. — Young, ambitious, and well-trained (possibly 
in Vienna), an excellent cartographer, Roessler published a number 
of geological contributions (1868-76) ; but his best work was done 
on the mapping of Texas. (Hill, Bulletin 45, U. S. Geological 
Survey, 1887) 

SCHLOTTMANN, Dr. Adolphus (d. ?1873).— A native of Hamburg 
with a medical education gained in Germany. He came to Texas in 
1853, and was physician and apothecary at Round Top, Fayette 
County, 1853-73. He collected insects and sent a collection to the 
Smithsonian Institution from Fayette County (1872). 

SCHOTT, Arthur (1814-75).— In 1853-55, Schott was First Assistant 
Surveyor under Major Emory on the U. S. and Mexican Boundary 
Survey. He collected many Orthoptera and Coleoptera later de- 
scribed by Dr. J. L. LeConte. He also surveyed the Rio Grande 
from Eagle Pass to the mouth of the Pecos; he was artist of the 
Boundary Survey, and made the many topographic sketches and 
colored ethnological plates included in the reports of the Survey. 
He published six geological papers dealing with the Rio Grande 
country (1855-66). With John H. Clark he made splendid collections 


of animals for the Survey, and collections of fossils and minerals in 
the Rio Grande valley. 

SENNETT, GEORGE B. (1840-1900).— During the years 1877-78, 
Sennett made two trips of some two months each to collect birds 
along the lower Rio Grande in Texas ; he made a third, longer trip 
in 1882. He published his results in the Bulletin of the U. S. Geo- 
logical Survey of the Territories, Vol. iv, No. 1, pp. 1-66, 1878; 
Vol. v, No. 3, pp. 371-440, 1879. 

SHARP, Dr. Redfield. — An army surgeon stationed at San Antonio; 
he sent specimens of insects and reptiles in alcohol from San Antonio 
to the Smithsonian Institution (1866). 

SHINN, James (1807-96). — A famous Quaker horticulturist, who went 
from ( PHouston) Texas to California in 1855. He became one of 
the most expert and influential horticulturists in California. (Bailey, 
Cyclopedia of Horticulture, s.v. "Horticulturists") 

SHUMARD, Dr. Benjamin Franklin (1820-69).— The elder Shumard 
was State Geologist of Texas (1858-60). He published twenty-one 
geological papers (1852-73), and sent reptiles and fishes to the Smith- 
sonian Institution (1873). 

SHUMARD, Dr. George Getz (1825-67).— Brother of B. F. Shumard, 
G. G. Shumard served as geologist and naturalist on various expedi- 
tions in the Red River region of northern Texas, 1852-60; he was 
also Assistant State Geologist on the Texas Survey under his brother, 
1858-60. He published five papers on Texas geology, most of them 
between 1852 and 1856. 

SIEMERING, August.— Between 1849 and 1855, Siemering made 
extensive collections of plants of the upper Guadalupe, near Sisterdale. 
A highly intelligent man with German university training in the 
sciences (although his major interest was classical philology), he later 
became editor of the San Antonio Zeitung. (Bios, v, 147, 1934) 

SMITH, William P. — An English zoological collector, sent to Texas 
in 1841 by Edward Smith Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby, to collect 
specimens for his museum and menagerie at Knowlsley near Liver- 
pool. Smith corresponded also with Audubon and Bachman. (Quad- 
rupeds . . . , i t 238, 1856) 

STOLLEY, George. — In DeCordova's Texas Immigrant Traveler's 
Guide, 1856, 49-58, Stolley gives observations of much interest on 
the zoology and geology of the Fort Belknap and Double Mountain 
region of northwest Texas. 


STRAUCH, Adolph (1822-83).— Horticulturist and landscape archi- 
tect. Strauch came to Galveston in 1851 from London, after a period 
of training at Kew. Later he removed to Cincinnati. (Bailey, 
Cyclopedia of Horticulture, s.v. "Horticulturists") 

SWEITZER, Jacob Bowman (d. 1888).— Collected fishes at Fort 
Brown, and sent specimens to the Smithsonian Institution (1880). 

SWIFT, Dr. Ebenezer (1819-85).— Swift was in charge of Fort 
Chadbourne, ca. 1853-56, and sent a large collection of vertebrates 
from that locality to the Smithsonian Institution. (Pacific Railroad 
Reports, Vol. ix) 

TAYLOR, Nathaniel Alston (1836-1913).— Taylor was of a distin- 
guished North Carolina family, a graduate of the University of 
Pennsylvania. He came to Texas in 1859, and published geological 
articles of interest in Birke's Almanac (1880, 1881) and in several 
Texas newspapers. With H. F. McDaniel he published (1878) The 
Coming Empire (recently reprinted under his own name, as 'Two 
Thousand Miles on Horseback"), a book containing valuable geological 
data. (Hill, Bulletin 45, U. S. Geological Survey, 1887) 

THOMAS, Major George Henry (1816-70). — During his sojourn in 
Texas (1855-60), Thomas sent skins of mammals and alcoholic 
specimens from Fort Mason to the Smithsonian Institution. 

THURBER, Dr. George (1821-90).— Botanist under John R. Bartlett 
on the U. S. and Mexican Boundary Survey, 1850-53. 

TRfiCUL, Dr. Auguste Adolphe Lucien. — In 1849 Trecul visited Texas 
on his scientific mission to North America to study and collect 
farinaceous-rooted plants used for food by the Indians. Wright met 
him at Castroville in November. His unpublished reports are in the 
archives of the Museum of Natural History in Paris. 

TUERPE, ALBERT. — Tuerpe was actively interested in the geology 
of Texas; he discovered coal on the banks of the Rio Grande at 
Eagle Pass in the mid-'seventies (Hielscher, loc. cit.), and in 1880 
sent specimens of the "mud eel," Siren lacertina, to the Smithsonian 

VAN VLIET, Captain Stewart (1815-1901).— During the years 1848- 
57, Van Vliet, stationed part of the time at Brownsville, collected 
fishes, reptiles, and mammals at Brownsville and Brazos Santiago for 
the Smithsonian Institution and the naturalists of the Boundary Sur- 
vey. (Dall, Spencer Fullerton Baird, 1915, pp. 244, 284) 


VEATCH, Dr. John Allen. — A native of Kentucky who came to Texas 
about 1836. Veatch was an amateur botanist and surveyor in Vehlein's 
Grant (ca. 1837-45). He was also an explorer in Lower California, 
and his plants were described by Albert Kellogg. (Proceedings of the 
California Academy of Sciences, n, 15-37, 1859; American Journal 
of Science, Second Series, xxvi, 288-95, 1858; Hesperian, or Western 
Monthly Magazine, in, 529-34, 1860) 

WALKER, Dr. E. M. (d. 1868).— Walker, at that time registered from 
Yorktown, Texas, took his M.D. degree from the University of 
Louisiana (present Tulane University) in 1854. On January 9, 1854, 
a paper by him on the Agricultural Ant of Texas was read before 
the New Orleans Academy of Sciences. Walker returned to York- 
town to practice, and was elected a corresponding member of the 
New Orleans Academy of Sciences. (Proceedings of the New 
Orleans Academy of Sciences, i, 47-48, 1854.) 

WEBB, Dr. Thomas Hopkins (1801-66). — Made important zoological 
collections, especially of fishes, reptiles, and insects, while connected 
with the U. S. and Mexican Boundary Survey (1850-53). 

WIEDEMANN, Dr. Eduard (? 1800-44). —Wiedemann, an Esthonian 
naturalist, was assistant surgeon in the Texan Army in the early 
'forties and collected for museums in Saint Petersburg ( ?1 838-44). 
(Bios, v, 143-44, 1934) 

WISLIZENUS, Adolphus (1810-89).— Collected plants in the vicinity 
of El Paso in the late summer of 1846. He published a book on his 
travels from St. Louis to Chihuahua via Santa Fe and El Paso ( 1848) . 

WOOD, Ensign Moses Lindley, U.S.N, (b. 1854).— Retired with rank 
of Commodore, U.S.N., 1909. He sent reptiles in alcohol from 
Texas to the U. S. National Museum (1880). 

WOODHOUSE, Dr. Samuel Washington (1821-1903).— In 1850 
Woodhouse was a member of Sitgreave's Survey through Panhandle 
Texas; he published on birds and mammals; no new species are in 
his Texas collections. Torrey described his plants. (Cassinia, viii, 
1-5, 1904) 

WREDE, Captain Friedrich Wilhelm von (d. 1845).— Wrede col- 
lected for German naturalists intermittently in eastern and central 
Texas from 1839 to 1845. He was not a naturalist in the technical 
sense, but had Gymnasium training in the sciences. (Bios, v, 142, 


WRIGHT, Charles (1811-85).— Wright came to Texas in 1837, and 
collected plants for Asa Gray, 1844-52. (Chapter viii of the present 
work; Southwest Review, xv ; 343-78, 1930; Field & Laboratory, iv, 
23-32, 1935) 

WUERDEMANN, Gustavus Wilhelm (1817-59).— While connected 
with the U. S. Coast Survey, Wiirdemann collected and sent to the 
Smithsonian Institution (1853-4) reptiles, fishes, and invertebrates 
from Brazos Santiago, Texas (among them, ten new species of 
marine fishes) and fishes, reptiles, and invertebrates in alcohol from 
Aransas Bay, together with skins of birds and mammals. In 1853 
he was in charge of five parties making hourly tide observations on 
the Texas coast from the entrance of Matagorda Bay to the mouth 
of Rio Grande. 

WUERTTEMBERG, Duke Paul Wilhelm of (1797-1860).— Visited 
the German settlements in Texas (April and May, 1855) while on 
his third journey to the Americas. Duke Paul, who possessed an 
excellent scientific training, was instrumental in bringing to the United 
States on this journey such authentic men of science as Heinrich 
Balduin Mollhausen and the Hungarian, Janos Xantus de Csiktapolcza 
[or Vesey] (1825-94), whose magnificent natural-history collections 
sent to the Smithsonian Institution while he was connected with the 
Coast Survey are still the wonder of museum administrators. {Bios, 
v, 147, 1934) 

YOAKUM, Dr. Franklin L. — Yoakum was early in life a country 
physician. He then entered the ministry of the Cumberland Presby- 
terian Church in Texas, and became president of Larissa College (in 
present Rusk County) in the late 'fifties. His administration was a 
time of great prosperity for the college; the institution had an admir- 
able astronomical telescope, and some microscopes and other equip- 
ment for biological and geological studies. Yoakum was meteorolog- 
ical observer at Larissa College for the Smtihsonian Institution during 
the years 1858-60. (F. Eby, The Development of Education in Texas, 
1925, 138.) 

YOUNG, Mrs. Maude Jeannie (1826-82).— A teacher of botany in 
Houston {ca. 1865+ ), Mrs. Young published her Familiar Lessons 
in Botany, with Flora of Texas, in 1873. She also wrote a number 
of graceful essays and verses. (Texas Technological College Bulletin, 
vn, 28-53, 1931) 


Abert, Lt. James William, 317. 
Adams, W. H., 317. 
Agassiz, Louis, 24-27, 29, 253. 
Alaman, Lucas, 44, 45, 46, 47, 63. 
Alexander, Rev. Robert, 226. 
Allen, Rev. William Y., 117. 
Almquist, Carl Jonas Love, 107. 
Arciniega, Miguel, 56. 
Ashburner, Charles Albert, 317. 
Atwater, Lyman H., 217. 
Audubon, John James, 19, 317. 
Audubon, John Woodhouse, 318. 
Austin, Capt. John, 74. 
Austin, Stephen F., 55, 57, 58, 73-74, 75, 76. 
Azara, Don Felix de, 14. 

Back, Sir George, 92. 

Baird, Spencer F., 71. 

Baker, Moseley, 265-66. 

Banister, Rev. John, 17. 

Barbaquista, Comanche Captain, 51. 

Barnard, F. A. P., 215. 

Barnard, George, 200, 202. 

Barnhart, Dr. John Hendley, 276. 

Bartlett, John Russell, 318. 

Bates, Henry W., 13. 

Batres, Col. Jose, 47, 49. 

Baudin, Nicholas, 14. 

Behr, Ottomar von, 107, 136, 318. 

Belfrage, Gustaf Wilhelm, 15, 20, 23, 

283, 289-308, 318. 
Belfrage, Dr. Knut, 306. 
Belfrage, Sixten, 297-98, 299. 
Bene, Ludwig, 132. 
Benjamin, G. G., 128. 
Benton, Lt. James Gilchrist, 318. 
Berlandier, Jean Louis, 15, 19, 38-72, 

228, 318. 
Biesele, R. L., 125. 
Bigelow, Artemas, 318. 
Bigelow, Dr. John M., 318. 
Blake, William Phipps, 319. 
Boheman, Carl J., 299, 300. 
Boll, Jacob, 12, 15-16, 20, 22-37, 283, 284, 

285, 291, 303, 305, 319. 

Bollcert, William, 319. 

Bonpland, Aime, 15. 

Borden, Gail, 264. 

Borelli, Giovanni Alfonso, 38. 

Bracht, Viktor, 110, 319. 

Bradstreet, H. C, 306. 

Briquet, John, 63. 

Brocklesby, John, 223. 

Brown, John Henry, 267, 282, 283. 

Bryant, Benjamin, 205. 

Buckley, Samuel Botsford, 269, 270, 273, 

Bunsen, Georg, 161. 
Bunsen, Gustav, 319. 
Bureau, Allyre, 279. 
Burleson, Col. Edward, 201. 
Burleson, Richard Byrd, 273, 319. 
Burnham, Jesse, 263. 
Bushnell, Horace, 215. 
Bustamente, Gen. Anastasio, 51. 
Butcher, H. B., 320. 
Byrd, Col. William, 18. 

Cabeza de Vaca, Alvar Nunez, 19. 

Calvert, Philip P., 291. 

Candolle, de, See DeCandolle. 

Cantagrel, Frangois Jean, 279. 

Carter, B. F., 320. 

Castelnau, le Comte de, 14. 

Catesby, Mark, 18. 

Chamisso, L. C. A. de, 14. 

Choisy, Jacques Denys, 43. 

Chovell, Rafael, 47, 70. 

Clark, Rev. John, 115-16. 

Clark, Josiah, 223. 

Churchill, Gen. Sylvester, 320. 

Clayton, John, 18. 

Colden, Cadwallader, 18. 

Columbus, Realdo, 38. 

Colwick, J. N., 307. 

Considerant, Victor, 277-80. 

Constant, Louis, 320. 

Coolidge, W. A. B., 40. 

Cope, Edward Drinker, 23, 31, 269, 284. 




Couch, Lt. Darius Nash, 71, 320. 
Crawford, Joseph T., 231. 
Crawford, Dr. Samuel Wylie, 320. 
Cresson, Ezra Townsend, 321. 
Cummins, James, 58. 

Dames, Prof. Wilhelm, 188. 
Dana, James D wight, 14, 222, 223. 
Darwin, Charles, 12, 13, 15-16, 253, 268, 

Day, George Edward, 223. 
Day, President Jeremiah, 217, 222, 225- 

Dean, G. W., 321. 
DeCandolle, Alphonse, 43, 69. 
DeCandolle, Auguste-Pyrame, 38, 39, 

40-41, 42, 43, 44, 69-70. 
DeWitt, Green, 49. 
Diffenderfer, Dr. W. L., 321. 
Douglas, David, 91, 321. 
Dresser, Henry Eeles, 321. 
Drummond, Thomas, 19, 57, 73-105, 

224, 228, 242, 321. 
Dunant, Philippe, 43. 
Duperrey, Capt. Louis Isidore, 14. 
Durand, Elias, 269, 273. 
Durant, Henry, 215, 223. 
Durham, George T., 321. 
Dwight, Timothy (elder), 229-30. 
Dwight, Timothy, 223-24. 

Eaton, Daniel C, 219. 

Eberle, Dr. E. G., 276, 283. 

Ehrenberg, Christian Gottfried, 14. 

Eisenlohr, Rev. Gustav, 110, 134-35. 

Elliott, Charles, 231. 

Elosua, Lt.-Col. Antonio, 48, 49, 53, 57. 

Emory, Major William Hemsley, 321. 

Engelmann, Adolf, 163. 

Engelmann, George, 161, 163, 166, 219, 

245, 269. 
Engelmann, Theodor, 163. 
Erath, George W., 80. 
Ernst, Friedrich, 118, 123, 136, 321. 
Ervendberg, Louis Cachand, 17, 20, 106- 

58, 169, 197, 321. 
Everett, Edward, 225. 

Falconer, Thomas, 322. 

Featherstonhaugh, George W., 322. 

Fendler, Augustus, 64, 116, 149, 322. 

Finch, Sherman, 216. 

Fischer, Rev. Josef Anton, 119-20. 

Fisher, Henry Francis, 124. 

Fisher, Samuel Ware, 223. 

Flewelling, R. T., 322. 

Flores, Gaspar, 60. 

Foard, Dr. Andrew Jackson, 322. 

Forcke, August, 322. 

Forel, Auguste, 271. 

Forshey, Caleb Goldsmith, 322. 

Franklin, Sir John, 89, 90, 103. 

Franklin, Dr. S. S., 261. 

Freeman, Dr. R. M., 284. 

Frey, Heinrich, 29. 

Friedrich, Otto, 107, 139, 164, 323. 

Froebel, Julius, 107, 323. 

Furman, John H., 323. 

Gadsden, James, 150. 

Galpin, Samuel, 216, 227. 

Gantt, Dr. W. H., 323. 

Garden, Dr. Alexander, 18. 

Garrett, Bishop Alexander C, 282, 283. 

Giraud, Jacob Post, 323. 

Gilman, Daniel Coit, 222. 

Glenn, John W., 323. 

Goode, George Brown, 17. 

Goodrich, Chauncey A., 224. 

Goodwin, Rev. Henry B., 117. 

Gould, John, 14. 

Graham, Col. J. D., 245, 323. 

Grandidier, Alfred, 14. 

Gray, Asa, 17, 38-39, 136, 142-44, 149- 

57, 166, 218, 219, 228-29, 236-37, 239- 

46, 247-52. 
Groce, Jared, 49, 62. 

Hagen, Hermann August, 25, 26, 300, 

Llaldeman, Lt. Horace, 323. 
Haldeman, Samuel Stehman, 324. 
Hall, Elihu, 324. 
Hall, Eliza Calvert Hall, 283. 
Hancock, John, 324. 



Harney, Gen. W. S. Harney, 239, 240. 

Harris, Edward, 324. 

Harrison, James T., 261. 

Harrison, Jonas, 76. 

Hayes, Dr. S., 324. 

Heaton, L. D., 324. 

Heermann, Dr. Adolphus L., 324. 

Heiligbrodt, Ludolph, 292, 324. 

Henderson, Gov. J. Pinckney, 206. 

Henry, Prof. Joseph, 237, 240, 274. 

Henshaw, Samuel, 300. 

Herbst, Carl Friedrich, 324. 

Herff, Dr. Ferdinand L. J. A. Von, 174, 

Heyland, Jean-Christophe, 43. 
Hielscher, Theodor, 325. 
Hilgard, Theodor E., 163. 
Holley, Mary Austin, 75, 88. 
Hooker, Sir Joseph Dalton, 13. 
Hooker, Sir William Jackson, 77, 86, 

90, 101. 
Houstoun, Mrs. M. H, 190, 191, 192, 

193, 194. 
Huff, William, 325. 
Humboldt, Baron Alexander von, 15, 

183-84, 253. 
Huxley, Thomas Henry, 13, 91-92. 

Isaac, J. C, 34, 325. 

Jahn, Friedrich Ludwig ("Turnvater"), 

James, Dr. Edwin, 19, 325. 
Jenney, Walter Proctor, 325. 
Jenyus, Rev. Leonard, 11-12. 
Jewett, Col. Ezekiel B., 325. 
Johnson, Alexander Smith, 223. 
Jones, Anson, 226. 

Kalteyer, Friedrich, 326. 
Kalteyer, George H., 326. 
Kapp, Ernst, 138. 
Kell, Frank, 306. 
Kellogg, Dr. Albert, 326. 
Kellogg, F., 326. 

Kennedy, William, 116, 184, 189, 190, 

Kennerly, Dr. Caleb B. R., 326. 
Kent, Chancellor James, 217. 
Kerr, Washington Caruthers, 326. 
Kimball, James Putnam, 327. 
King, Dr. William Shakespeare, 327. 
Kingsley, J. L., 222, 223. 
Kirby-Smith, Capt. Edmund, 327. 
Kirkpatrick, Soule, 266. 
Klappenbach, Georg, 109, 110, 327. 
Koester, Dr. Theodor, 197. 
Korner, Gustav, 163. 
Kotzebue, Capt. Otto von, 14. 
Kuechler, J., 327. 
Kyle, Col. Claiborne, 245. 

Langenheim, Wilhelm, 187, 327. 

Larned, William A., 215. 

La Salle, Rene Robert C, Sieur de, 45. 

Leavenworth, Dr. Melines C, 228, 327. 

Leclerc, Dr. Louis J. F., 327. 

Leijonhufvud, Baron A. G., 303. 

Lesson, Rene, 14. 

Lesueur, Charles Alexandre, 14. 

Lewis, Samuel, 269. 

Lincecum, Dr. Addison L., 266-67. 

Lincecum, Dr. Gideon, 23, 253-74, 327. 

Lindheimer, Ferdinand J., 20, 22, 116, 

123, 124, 136, 159-80, 198, 227, 242, 250, 

283, 328. 
Lipscomb, Dr. Dabney, 261. 
Long, Major Stephen H., 19, 328. 

McCook, Rev. Henry C, 271-73, 328. 

McDonald, Finan, 99. 

McElderry, Dr. Henry, 328. 

MacKenzie, Kenneth, 101. 

Malone, Dr. S. B., 261. 

Malpighi, Marcello, 38. 

Marcet, Frangois, 43. 

Marcou, Jules, 328. 

Marcy, Capt. Randolph B., 328. 

Marnoch, Gabriel William, 328. 

Marsh, Othniel C, 32. 

Marshall, Lt. Louis Henry, 328. 

Mejia, Francisco, 71. 

Menger, Dr. Rudolph, 329. 

Mercier, Philippe, 43. 



Merrill, Dr. James Cushing, 329. 
Meusebach, Baron Ottfried Hans von, 

109, 126-27, 173, 181, 188, 198, 206-10, 

Mexia, Francisco, 71. 
Mgebroff, Johannes, 127, 128. 
Michler, Lt. Nathaniel, 329. 
Mitchell, Dr. John, 18. 
Mitchell, Joseph Daniel, 329. 
Moczygeba, Father L. B., 107. 
Mollhausen, Heinrich Balduin, 329. 
Montgomery, Edmund Duncan, 330. 
Moore, Dr. Francis M., Jr., 330. 
Moore, John W., 330. 
Morgan, Mrs. Kosciusko, 190-91, 193. 
Morgan, Col. James, 185, 190. 
Moricand, fitienne, 43. 
Morong, Rev. Thomas, 284. 
Morrell, Z. N., 232. 
Moss, Theodore F., 330. 
Munson, Thomas Volney, 330. 
Musquiz, Ramon, 55, 58. 

Navarro, Jose Antonio, 56. 
Nehrling, Henry, 330. 
Neighbors, Major R. S., 206-07. 
Nordenskiold, Eric, 40. 
Noriega, Col. Jose Maria Diaz, 47. 

Olmsted, Denison, 215. 
Olmsted, Frederick Law, 113, 138-40, 

Olson, Dr. J. M., 304, 306. 
Osborn, Henry Fairfield, 33. 

Packard, Alpheus S., 269, 300, 302-03, 

Padilla, Jual Antonio de, 57. 
Parker, William B, 330. 
Parry, Dr. Charles Christopher, 331. 
Pease, Capt. Walter B., 331. 
Peck, George William, 269. 
Peron, Francois, 14. 
Pieron, Peter, 120. 
Pilgrim, Thomas J., 231. 
Pitcher, Dr. Zina, 331. 
Plummer, Capt. Joseph Bennett, 331. 

Poinsett, Joel R., 45, 46, 47. 
Polk, Bishop Leonidas, 117. 
Polk, Trusten, 217. 
Porter, John W., 201. 
Poppig, Eduard F., 14. 
Porter, Noah, 217. 
Poselger, Heinrich, 331. 
Purpus, Dr. C. A., 149. 

Questad, Carl, 304. 

Raffles, Sir Stamford, 14. 
Ravenel, Henry William, 331. 
Reinhardt, Louis, 174, 175-76, 331. 
Reinwardt, Casper G. K., 14. 
Remer, Dr. Wilhelm, 331. 
Remond, fimile, 279, 331. 
Reverchon, Julien, 15, 23, 275-88, 332. 
Richardson, Rev. Chauncey, 233, 235. 
Richardson, Dr. John, 91, 92. 
Riddell, John Leonard, 332. 
Riddell, William Pitt, 332. 
Riley, Charles Valentine, 30. 
Ringgold, Capt. Cadwallader, 246. 
Roemer, Ferdinand von, 20, 125, 167, 

169-70, 181-214, 228, 332. 
Roessler, Anton R., 332. 
Ruiz, Lt.-Col. Francisco, 51, 52, 53. 
Riippel, W. P. E. S., 14. 
Ruter, Rev. Martin, 81, 233. 

Sanchez, Jose Maria, 47, 56, 57, 60, 66- 

Santa Anna (Comanche chief), 172, 208- 

Sargent, C. S., 276, 287. 
Schleicher, Gustav, 174. 
Schlottmann, Dr. Adolphus, 332. 
Schomburgk, Sir Robert H., 14. 
Schott, Arthur, 332. 
Schuchard, Rev. A., 110. 
Scudder, Samuel Hubbard, 300, 302. 
Seele, Hermann, 111, 128-31, 141-42. 
Seguin, Erasmo, 57, 58. 
Sennett, George B., 333. 
Sharp, Dr. Redfield, 333. 
Sheridan, Francis C, 231-32. 



Sherman, Roger M., 225. 
Sherman, Mrs. Sidney, 191, 193. 
Shinn, James, 333. 
Short, Dr. Charles, 63. 
Shumard, Dr. B. F., 274, 333. 
Shumard, Dr. George Getz, 333. 
Sibley, Dr. John, 51. 
Siebold, Philip Franz von, 14. 
Siemering, August, 138, 333. 
Silliman, Benjamin, Sr., 215, 216, 222. 
Simonds, Frederick W., 182. 
Sjostedt, Prof. Yngve, 292, 298. 
Smith, Dr. Ashbel, 184, 189-90, 195-96. 
Smith, William P., 333. 
Smithwick, Noah, 61-62. 
Solms, Carl Prince von, 123, 124, 126, 

173, 181. 
Sorgel, Alwin H., 171-72. 
Spaulding, Perley, 90. 
Spencer, Herbert, 103. 
Spiess, Hermann, 132. 
Stal, Carl, 299, 306. 
Sternberg, Charles H., 32. 
Stevens, Rev. Abel, 117. 
Stolley, George, 333. 
Strauch, Adolph, 334. 
Sullivant, Dr. W. S., 151, 152. 
Sweitzer, Jacob Bowman, 334. 
Swift, Dr. Ebenezer, 334. 

Taft, Alphonso, 223. 

Tarnava, Lt.-Col. Constantino, 47. 

Taylor, Nathaniel A., 34, 334. 

Taylor, Zachary, 71. 

Temminck, Coenraad J., 14. 

Teran, Gen. Manuel de Mier y, 46, 47, 

49, 50, 51, 56, 57, 58, 60, 62, 70. 
Thatcher, Thomas, 218, 223, 226, 227, 

228, 246. 
Thiel, Christian, 117. 
Thomas, Major George Henry, 334. 
Thrall, Henry S., 235. 
Thurber, Dr. George, 334. 
Torrey, Dr. John, 19, 237. 
Torrey, John F., 127, 187, 200-05. 
Trecul, Dr. Auguste A. L., 334. 
Trembley, Abraham, 40. 

Tschudi, Johann T. von, 14. 
Tucker, Tilghman M., 261. 
Tuerpe, Albert, 334. 
Turner, Frederick J., 230-31. 

Uhler, Philip R., 300. 
Ulke, Henry, 269, 300. 

Van Vliet, Capt. Stewart, 334. 
Vasey, George, 287. 
Veatch, John Allen, 232, 236, 335. 
Vesalius, Andreas, 38. 
Vigoureaux, Mme. Clarice, 279. 

Wagner, Moritz, 28. 

Waite, Morrison R., 223. 

Walker, Dr. E. M., 335. 

Wallace, Alfred Russel, 13. 

Ward, Mrs. Humphrey, 42-43. 

Ward, H. G., 45, 46. 

Watson, Sereno, 284, 287. 

Waugh, Bishop Beverly, 211. 

Webb, Dr. Thomas Hopkins, 335. 

Wetmore, Alex., 270. 

Wied-Neu Wied, Maximilian Prince, 14. 

Wiedmann, Dr. Eduard, 335. 

Wilkes, Capt. Charles, 14. 

Williams, Sam. M., 58, 59. 

Wislizenus, Adolphus, 335. 

Wood, H. C, 269. 

Wood, Ensign Moses Lindley, 335. 

Woodhouse, Dr. Samuel W., 335. 

Woodhull, Victoria, 282. 

Woolsey, Theodore D., 223. 

Wooten, E. O., 229. 

Wrede, Capt. F. W. von, 110, 335. 

Wright, Charles, 20, 70, 215-52, 274, 283, 

Wright, Elizur, 218. 
Wiirdemann, Gustavus Wilhelm, 336. 
Wiirttemberg, Duke Paul Wilhelm of, 


Yoakum, Dr. Franklin L., 336. 
Young, Mrs. Maude Jeannie, 336. 

Zink, Nocholas, 185. 

Date Due 

Naturalists of the frontier, sci 
1 19 G313n 1937 

3 12bE 031S3 SS17 ^S^